Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

1 p.m. Gov’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff Resign

Gov. Abercrombie’s Chief of Staff, Amy Asselbaye, and Deputy Chief of Staff, Andrew Aoki, have resigned.

Bruce Coppa, currently the State’s Comptroller, has been named the Chief of Staff.

The change isn’t completely unexpected. It’s been a troubled first year for the administration. Several of his cabinet-level appointments have resigned in recent months. The administration has also struggled to keep a tight grip on Abercrombie’s media availabilities and public appearances.

Still, Asselbaye started out as a legislative aide in Abercrombie’s congressional office and has worked nearly her entire professional life for Abercrombie. By comparison, Aoki is a relative newcomer. He joined Abercrombie’s team in March 2009 as a deputy campaign manager having had little previous experience working for a politician.

Read the full story here

The governor’s office sent out the following statement announcing the resignations:


Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie announced today that his Chief of Staff, Amy Asselbaye, and Deputy Chief of Staff, Andrew Aoki, have resigned. Bruce Coppa, currently the State’s Comptroller, has been named the Chief of Staff. Their resignations will be effective by the end of the month and a transition of leadership is underway.

Asselbaye and Aoki informed Governor Abercrombie earlier this week of their decision to resign in order to spend more time with their families and young children. Asselbaye has three children; Aoki has two young children.

Coppa, the director of the state Department of Accounting and General Services, was head of Coppa Consulting, Inc. before joining the Abercrombie Administration in December 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Coppa served as Chief Operating Officer of Communications Pacific and executive director of Pacific Resource Partnership. Coppa has over 25 years of professional experience in operations and management in Hawaii’s construction industry. Coppa received his Master’s degree in Business Administration Global Management and Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

Governor Abercrombie will begin the search for Coppa’s replacement.

Asselbaye has worked for Governor Abercrombie for 18 years, first as a legislative assistant for then-Congressman Abercrombie and was eventually promoted as his Congressional Office’s Chief of Staff. Aoki has worked with Governor Abercrombie for 2 ½ years, first in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign as the deputy campaign manager before joining the Abercrombie Administration.

“Amy and Andrew and their families have sacrificed for years on behalf of the people of Hawaii and I respect their desires to want to reconnect with their families,” Governor Abercrombie said. “The two of them have helped me make the transition from the campaign to governing. I’m sure the transition to continued leadership in the Governor’s Office will be a smooth one.”

—Sara Lin

9:40 a.m. Huge Solar Project for Kauai

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government-related news:

Panel backs ML&P’s plan for Pulelehua

Fish-collecting ban reso passes Hawaii County Council

KIUC to develop state’s largest solar project

Election worker investigation on Big Isle

Lihue mill blessed before demolition

Plan to purchase open space passes Big Isle Council

Maui trial to determine fate of $70M-plus estate

State building code changes tabled on Big Isle

Briefing: Micronesians and COFA

House Human Services is scheduled to convene at 10:30 a.m. at the Capitol “to review human services issues relating to the Micronesian community in Hawaii, the history of the Federal Compact, and the state costs of providing human services to the Micronesian community and the federal reimbursement to the state.”

Chair John Mizuno is expected to “highlight the agreed upon solutions proposed to better address adequate reimbursement of human services’ costs of COMPACT citizens in Hawaii.”

Government officials are among those expected to appear at the briefing.

Briefing: Public Lands Development Corporation

Two legislative committees are scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. at the Capitol “to update the State legislature on the progress and status of the Public Lands Development Corporation.”

Items to be discussed may include the hiring of an executive director, status of rules and an annual calendar of meetings.

The PLDC was created by lawmakers last session to generate revenue from certain state lands.

PBS’ ‘Insights’: The Census

Dan Boylan tonight welcomes Susan Chandler, James Christy, Steve Petranik and Eugene Tian to examine Hawaii’s 2010 census results.


A recent follow-up report states that Hawaii leads the nation in ethnic diversity, multigenerational households and cost of living. Hawaii’s population has also risen by 12 percent since the last census in 2000. Guests will explain these demographics and more, what they mean for future policy planning and how Hawaii residents would ultimately be affected.

Where’s Neil?

Here’s Neil:

Holomua Groundbreaking Event, 1315 Kalakaua Avenue, noon.

Catch up on previous coverage:

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