Senate President Ron Kouchi said no members came forward to say they were coerced to vote against Scott Glenn’s nomination.

The Senate delayed until Friday a vote on Scott Glenn’s nomination to lead the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development in part due to accusations that senators have been pressuring colleagues to vote one way or another.

Senate President Ron Kouchi said delaying the vote will give members of the Senate who have not yet met with Glenn time to do so.

“This has obviously now become a large issue in the press, and members who had not had the chance to meet with Mr. Glenn realize that any response that they give, any vote that they cast, will probably be asked for the rationale and supporting statement to the vote,” Kouchi said during the Senate’s noon floor session.

The Senate has delayed a full vote on Scott Glenn’s nomination to lead the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who chairs the Senate Water and Land Committee that vetted Glenn’s nomination, previously said that Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani were bullying other senators into opposing Glenn’s nomination. Glenn cleared the committee on a 4-1 vote earlier this month.

Dela Cruz and Kidani later said Inouye was the one pressuring her colleagues to toe the line and vote in favor of Glenn. They and other senators noted concerns raised by employees in the planning office over Glenn’s treatment of staff and qualifications for the job.

The full 25-member Senate had originally been scheduled to vote on Glenn’s nomination on Wednesday, but Kouchi announced the delay after meeting with senators privately in caucus that ran half-an hour into the Senate’s scheduled start time.

Kouchi said he has not heard from any senators who said they felt coerced by Dela Cruz or Kidani to change their votes.

“I have talked to all the members in the caucus, and there isn’t a member who has come forward to tell me that they felt coerced in any way by Senator Dela Cruz or Senator Kidani on how to cast their vote,” Kouchi said.

Senate President Ron Kouchi said the vote on the nomination of Scott Glenn was delayed to allow more senators time to meet the nominee. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

He said, however, that some said they felt pressured by the “Water and Land chair,” meaning Inouye, to change how they planned to vote.

He also said it is routine for Senate leadership like Kidani, the vice president, and Majority Leader Dru Kanuha to “continually take the temperature of where members of the caucus are leaning.”

Glenn previously led the Hawaii State Energy Office during the shuttering of Oahu’s last coal plant, which provided fodder for his opponents considering the state’s rising energy costs since the plant in Kalaeloa closed for good last year.

Gov. Josh Green said he is looking forward to the vote.

“Scott Glenn is a qualified individual who wants to serve the people of Hawaii and do good,” Green said.

While several of Green’s nominees have been approved, the governor has seen some high-profile rejections from the Senate.

Ikaika Anderson withdrew his name to lead the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands after a Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee rejected him last month by a vote of 4-1.

Last week, the Senate Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee also voted 4-1 against Chris Sadayasu’s nomination to lead the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Civil Beat reporter Chad Blair contributed to this story.

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