Oshiro replaces Andrew Aoki, who resigned in early October after senior Democrats urged the governor to shake up his staff.
“I decided to actually become the deputy chief of staff because I sincerely believe in the governor, in his vision and what he wants to do for our state,” Oshiro said at a press conference announcing his appointment. “Any way that I can be a part of that team … I’m glad to be a small part of that.”
Oshiro, 41, is considered to be one of the most successful lawmakers in the state. A legislator for 11 years, he is credited with the passage of Hawaii civil unions.
The governor will likely pick a replacement for Oshiro based on recommendations from Oahu Democrats.
House Democrats, meanwhile, will have to select a new majority leader.
Oshiro did not answer Civil Beats calls Monday morning. The governor formally announced Oshiro’s appointment at a 1 p.m. press conference in executive chambers.
The hiring of Oshiro is a coup for the administration, which has struggled to get its complicated “New Day” agenda through the Legislature.
Despite a long career as a legislator, including in the state House and Senate, Abercrombie was not able to pass critical aspects of his budget, including a tax on sugary drinks and on pension income.
Along with Aoki’s departure, the governor also saw longtime chief of staff Amy Asselbaye and two key communications personnel leave within a 24-hour period.
Abercrombie has acknowledge criticism of his administration but said the difficult choices he was making were for the betterment of the state, and that eventually most people would come around to that conclusion.
Oshiro is widely hailed as an expert at writing and passing legislation, and who has good relations with a majority of Democrats and even minority Republicans.
He will join new chief of staff Bruce Coppa and new communications director Jim Boersma in leading the administration into a new, and perhaps more successful, phase of governance.
Because of state ethics laws, Oshiro will have to leave his full-time job as an attorney for Honolulu firm Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing. He announced at the press conference that he planned to leave the firm in December.
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