Green expects Sadayasu to get an up-or-down decision within days as he urges lawmakers to let him form his team.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that he stands by his pick to lead the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Even though Chris Sadayasu received a 4-1 vote in the Senate Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee against his appointment, Green expressed strong support for nominee. He described him as a “gentleman” with 20 years of experience.

“He’s worked so hard,” Green said.

The governor’s appointment to lead DBEDT, Chris Sadayasu, wants an up-or-down vote from the Senate. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

The governor, who spoke with reporters at his fifth floor office at the Capitol after a bill-signing ceremony, credited Sadayasu with resolving a tourism management and marketing contract dilemma that fell apart under the previous administration.

“He’s brought a coalition of people together,” said Green.

The governor said Sadayasu asked that he receive a full Senate vote.

Sadayasu was in the visitor gallery earlier in the day as the Senate announced that it would postpone until Friday a vote on another nominee whose confirmation is undecided: Scott Glenn to lead the state Office of Planning and Sustainability.

There are reports that some senators are pressuring others to change their votes on Glenn, who received a 4-1 vote in favor of his nomination from the Senate Water and Land Committee earlier this month.

“I think the Senate’s working out their differences on our nominees,” said Green, a former state senator. “I would just say this: We look forward to Friday to see how my former colleagues vote.”

But the governor also stressed the importance that he be able to put together his new administration.

“It’s important that we have a full team to do the work of the state,” he said. “My administration can’t function if we don’t have a planning director, if we don’t have a director of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, if we don’t have health directors and chairs of all these other major departments. We have to have the team.”

Green’s first nominee to lead DHHL, Ikaika Anderson, withdrew his name from consideration in February after receiving a negative endorsement from the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee. His second DHHL nominee, Kali Watson, passed that committee and now awaits a full Senate vote.

“I need these people,” Green reiterated. “What I do also need is I need people to treat each other with kindness. And that’s what I’m asking for. That’s what we all expect. And I hope and pray that that’s the kind of government that we’ll have going forward.”

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