We’ve spent the last eight months looking far and wide for a new editor to lead Civil Beat’s opinion-writing efforts. But the best choice was right under our noses all along.

Chad Blair has been a writer, editor and teacher in Hawaii for more than 25 years. He is Civil Beat’s most senior employee and the only remaining member of the original staff who helped launch the site in 2010. For the past seven years Chad has been our chief political writer, covering the Legislature, elected officials and elections.

His long history and deep love of Hawaii along with his commitment to the community is evident to anyone who knows him. He is a living encyclopedia for our newsroom and is the guy we turn to first when we want to understand the values and relationships that make Hawaii what it is. Those are important requirements for us as we strive to be a good civic partner.

Chad Blair hosted Civil Beat’s Election Trivia at Kapiolani Community College in October. Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Chad has long been Civil Beat’s frontman — he’s frequently on radio and TV talking about our stories, or hosting Civil Beat events. He’s often asked to moderate debates and discussions put on by other organizations, too, or be a guest speaker at public forums and college classes.

His new position — which we’re calling politics and opinion editor — will allow him to lead our editorial board’s discussions on a wide range of issues and continue to keep his hand in the state’s politics as a regular columnist. He’ll also continue to host Pod Squad, our podcast interview series, and represent us in the community in a variety of forums.

“I love Hawaii and I love Civil Beat,” he says. “After seven years here as a political reporter and columnist, the new position seemed to me an ideal way to evolve professionally and to find fresh ways to contribute to Civil Beat’s mission — to make Honolulu and Hawaii a better place to live.”

Chad will be joined on the editorial board by a few other fresh faces who we think will offer a broader view and more thoughtful perspective on issues. They are Managing Editor Jim Simon, Podcast Editor Jessica Terrell and Audience Development Editor Landess Kearns. Other members of the board include Publisher Pierre Omidyar, Editor and General Manager Patti Epler, News Editor Richard Wiens and artist and intern Caleb Hartsfield.

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