Neil Abercrombie ignored treacherous storm conditions to announce that he finally selected the man he wants leading the state through myriad legal storms.
As the attorney general nominee — David Louie — himself acknowledged, there are “a lot of issues on the table,” including matters not resolved by the previous administration.
While Louie did not offer specifics, his office has inherited at least a dozen class action lawsuits that were filed against the state under previous administrations that could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
The governor said he chose Louie, 59, a trial lawyer and longtime partner with the law firm Roeca Louie & Hiraoka, because his administration confronts “a phalanx of challenges, legal and otherwise.”
They include, he said, matters involving procurement, unfunded mandates, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, the appointment of a Board of Education and “court cases already under way that we will have to review.”
“It’s replete,” the governor said of Louie’s agenda, adding that the attorney general’s office would also lead all government departments concerning legal matters.
While the appointment of Mark Bennett as attorney general eight years ago was one of the first Cabinet selections by Linda Lingle, Louie is Abercrombie’s 16th and final pick. (Nine deputy director appointments in various departments remain unfilled.)
Abercrombie said the delay had a lot to do with letting his AG have the time necessary to talk the job over with his family, friends and colleagues. Because of his many commitments, Louie — although he starts his new job immediately — will be given “days or weeks” to permit his transition from private practice into public service.
Louie cited no specific priority as AG, other then assessing all of his responsibilities in a timely fashion.
Asked why he took the job, he said he was inspired to public service by his late father, Paul Louie, a minister and former consultant for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, and that he liked challenges and opportunities.
Louie, who is married with two children, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Law School in 1977.
He has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America (2011) and a Hawaii Super Lawyer the past three years in a row.
Louie previously has served as president, vice president and director of the Hawaii State Bar Association, and was a lawyer representative for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Since 1999 he has been vice chair for the Hawaii Supreme Court Special Committee on Judicial Performance.
Louie also was chairman of the State of Hawaii Aloha Tower Development Corporation from 1999-2005.
His appointment awaits state Senate confirmation.
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