Welcome to Capitol Watch. Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie is already in transition mode, there’s new leadership at the Legislature and other government branches, and Civil Beat is reporting on it all.
5:09 p.m. Still Nothing New at NewDayHawaii.org
Eight days after the election, and five days after the last post to its transition website, there’s nothing new to share about the new Abercrombie-Schatz administration.
Tomorrow is another day, however. And inauguration day is 26 days away.
2:46 p.m. Hanabusa Cleaning Out Office, Heading to D.C.
Colleen Hanabusa is moving out of her Senate president’s office and plans to travel to Washington this weekend for freshmen orientation for new representatives.
Before she is sworn in Jan. 3, Hanabusa will also attend a “congressional college” forum at Harvard University.
And, keeping good on a promise, she’s scouting out places to live (probably rent for now) in the 1st Congressional District. That means putting her Ko Olina home on the market.
1:30 p.m. Gov-Elect to Attend Punchbowl Ceremony
In what may be his first formal public appearance since election day, Neil Abercrombie will participate in Veterans Day ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Gov. Linda Lingle will lead the state in the 59th anniversary of honoring military veterans from Hawaii and the nation. Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona will be on hand, too, to present a proclamation, according to his just-posted schedule.
The rumors have been swirling ever since Todd Apo announced he would step down from the Honolulu City Council to go to work for Disney at Ko Olina — would Mufi Hannemann run for the seat? (The special election is Dec. 29.)
No, says McNeil Wilson Communications, the public-relations firm that handled much of Hannemann’s unsuccessful campaign for governor. He doesn’t even live in District 1, which includes Ewa and Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Nanakuli, Waianae, Makaha and Makua.
The idea, according to pundits, was that Hannemann would become Council chairman and use the high-profile position to keep him in the public eye and propel himself to higher office, perhaps the U.S. Senate. But returning to the Council, where he previously served six years including a stint as chairman, after serving six years as mayor was seen by many as a step in the wrong direction.
10:12 a.m. Will House Democrats Woo GOP?
With the majority party torn over who to pick as House speaker — Calvin Say, Sylvia Luke or a third candidate — quiet overtures are being made to the minority party, which has increased its caucus in the Hawaii Legislature from six to eight members.
It’s not unusual for the parties to talk during leadership selection, says Minority Leader Gene Ward; despite Democrats’ 43-member majority, lawmakers work with each other more than against.
What would be rare is for a coalition of Democrats backing a particular speaker-wannabe to promise the GOP something big in exchange for their support — namely, committee chairmanships. Despite Republican gains this election year, most Democrats won election or re-election by commanding margins and feel they have good reason to still call the shots.