Welcome to Capitol Watch. Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie is in transition mode, there’s new leadership at the Legislature and other government branches, and Civil Beat is reporting on all of it.

5:35 p.m. Legislators and Jobs

Heard in the Capitol whisper mill: Three state Senators who were on the losing end of the chamber’s recent leadership shuffle could be appointees in the administration of Neil Abercrombie.

Russell Kokubun and Dwight Takamine are considered potential candidates for Cabinet positions — perhaps for the state’s departments of agriculture and labor, respectively — while Brian Taniguchi‘s name is also in the mix for a high-profile slot. All three did not return Civil Beat’s call for comment.

The name of Mike Magaoay, the former House representative, has also been mentioned as Cabinet material. He lost a Senate bid against Donovan Dela Cruz.

2:14 p.m. Who Will Fill Hanabusa’s Shoes?

The task of selecting a replacement for Colleen Hanabusa in the State Legislature falls to Neil Abercrombie, and at least three names have surfaced as possible replacements.

Democrat Maile Shimabukuro currently occupies the House District 45 seat that covers a good chunk of Hanabusa’s District 21 seat that extends from Kaena Point to Ko Olina on the Waianae Coast. William Aila, the Waianae harbor master, ran for governor in 2006 and helped Abercrombie with his campaign this year. And Cynthia Rezentes, a community activist, has previously campaigned to represent the region in office.

One scenario has Shimabukuro finishing Hanabusa’s remaining two years in the Senate with either Aila or Rezentes taking Shimabukuro’s place.

12:02 p.m. When Duke Met Linda

At the unveiling of Linda Lingle‘s official portrait Monday night, Duke Aiona shared with the Washington Place audience what happened the first time the governor was traveling out of state and the LG was put in charge.

“She said to me, ‘I just want your assurance on this — if anything should happen to me, don’t fire the Cabinet,'” said Aiona, getting big laughs from the audience that included many Cabinet members.

Aiona explained how he and Lingle did not know each other well before being placed in “a sort of arranged marriage” in the 2002 election.

“Only 42 states have a lieutenant governor,” said Aiona, noting that the second-in-command in some states is the secretary of state or a state senator. “And in some states they’re not even from same party, like in California. So in many instances the governor will not leave the state because they don’t want to put it in the hands of someone they don’t know or from an opposition party.”

10:52 a.m. Abercrombie Interviews Held In Union Hall

Neil Abercrombie‘s transition team is holding interviews with job applicants in a union hall in Kalihi.

Candidates for Cabinet-level positions are interviewed by a panel whose members have included Bill Kaneko and John Radcliffe.

Asked to comment, Abercrombie spokesman Jim McCoy said, “I am not going to confirm for you any information where we are holding personnel issues.”


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