Rep. Joseph Souki stepped down as State House of Representatives speaker at the close of the 2017 Legislature. A week before the close of the session Souki learned that he had lost his coalition and turned in his gavel the day before the session ended. The next day Scott Saiki was named speaker.
Souki was elected House speaker at the start of the 2013 legislative session by a majority vote from the 51-member chamber. He reclaimed the title that former Speaker Calvin Say took from him 13 years before. (He previously served as speaker from 1993 to 1999.)
To get the necessary 26 votes, Souki cut a deal with the seven House Republicans. In return, the GOP was given three vice chair positions, including one on the important Finance Committee, which now has two vice chairs.
Souki’s election led to a re-organization of the House, which included new faces from a variety of backgrounds, including young Republicans. This was a change from a Say-led House, which had been criticized for not advocating change and reform.
In the 2011-2012 session, Souki served on the committees of Consumer Protection and Commerce, Judiciary, Labor and Public Employment and Public Safety. He was also chair of the Transportation Committee.
Souki was born on April 25, 1932, in Puunene, Maui. He received his bachelor’s degree from Woodbury University in 1954.
Before being elected into office, Souki worked as and administrator for Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. for 16 years, where he initiated the bus service, the senior citizen discount card program, Meals on Wheels and youth transportation services.
He has also been a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council and worked for the Maui Electric Company, Biddle Trade Bureau and Maui Soda and Ice Company.