Welcome to Capitol Watch. There’s a new governor, new leadership at the Legislature and other government branches, and Civil Beat is reporting on all of it.

4:24 p.m. House Reps Demand New Speaker

As reported below, 18 Democrats in the state House of Representatives are calling for new leadership.

A letter they sent to Calvin Say on Monday — inauguration day! — strongly criticizes his tenure as speaker and argues that important legislation is on hold until Democrats agree to a compromise candidate for the top job.

The full story can be read here.

12:16 p.m. Attorney Appointed to DLNR

Governor Neil Abercrombie named Honolulu lawyer Bill Tam deputy director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Tam, 62, a lawyer with Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing and a former deputy AG with the Land Board, specializes in water, natural resources and land use law. He joins a team lead by Interim Chairman William Aila and First Deputy Director Guy Kaulukukui as the team leading DLNR.

Tam’s appointment is subject to approval by the state Commission on Water Resource Management.

9:18 a.m. 18 House Members Firmly Against Say

A letter has been sent to Calvin Say authored by the 18 state House Democrats who want someone else besides Say as speaker.

The letter, which was delivered Monday, is a statement of unity on the part of 15 representatives who support Sylvia Luke and three others who want Roy Takumi.

With Linda Ichiyama‘s defection from the Luke bloc to the Say bloc last week, Say needs only one more vote to get the necessary 26. But this letter suggests he won’t get it.

In addition to Ichiyama, Say is supported by Henry Aquino, Karen Awana, Rida Cabanilla, Jerry Chang, Pono Chong, Isaac Choy, Ty Cullen, Sharon Har, Mark Hashem, Bob Herkes, Ken Ito, Marilyn Lee, Joey Manahan, Angus McKelvey, John Mizuno, Marcus Oshiro, Blake Oshiro, Karl Rhoads, Joe Souki, Jimmy Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Ryan Yamane and Kyle Yamashita.

Luke is supported by Della Au Belatti, Tom Brower, Mele Carroll, Denny Coffman, Faye Hanohano, Gil Keith-Agaran, Chris Lee, Dee Morikawa, Mina Morita, Mark Nakashima, Scott Nishimoto, Scott Saiki, Maile Shimabukuro and Mark Takai.

Cindy Evans, Jessica Wooley and Roy Takumi want Takumi.

7:39 a.m. Abercrombie On King’s Passing, Hirono On Edward’s

Neil Abercrombie released this statement on the passing of Judge Samuel P. King:

“Judge King was the heart and soul of Hawaii. He was a friend and a mentor to all who loved Hawaii. Judge King’s rollicking sense of humor — his deep capacity not to take himself seriously while taking Hawaii seriously — set a standard that few, if any, could match. His idea of what was good for Hawaii was an extension of his deep understanding of pono, of doing what’s right.”

King, who was also one of the five co-authors of the “Broken Trust” essay on Bishop Estate, was 94.

Meanwhile, Mazie Hirono said this about Elizabeth Edwards, 61: “She was a passionate advocate for issues of social justice, and her absence will be deeply felt.”

Hirono endorsed John Edwards for president in 2004.

Charles In Charge

In a Dec. 1 letter addressed to residents of the 1st Congressional District, Charles Djou used his franking privleges one last time.

Among the highlights of the letter: During his short time in D.C., the Congressman says he assisted in the release of South Korean fishermen held hostage by the North Korean government (specifically, he introduced a resolution condemning the grabbing of the men and demanding their release).

He says his staff also helped the wife of a soldier get a kidney transplant, assisted a man in getting several years of back pay and benefits from the federal government (Djou says his predecessor — the man who is now governor — blew the guy off) and co-sponsored a Balance Budget Amendment (though it is yet to pass).

Catch up on our previous coverage:

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