He fills the vacancy created by the departure of Gil Keith-Agaran.

Maui has a new state senator.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green on Thursday appointed Rep. Troy Hashimoto to the District 5 seat that represents Wailuku, Kahului, Waihee, Waikapu Mauka and Waiehu. It had been vacant since Gil Keith-Agaran resigned Oct. 31 to focus on his law practice, which includes representing Maui wildfire victims in lawsuits against the state, Hawaiian Electric, Maui County and others.

Hashimoto, 36, has served in the state House of Representatives since April 2018, when then-Gov. David Ige named him to fill the seat of former House Speaker Joe Souki.

“I look forward to working with the Senate,” he said. “I will definitely miss my House colleagues, but I will be working with them, especially as the Legislature tries to move things forward for Maui.”

Hashimoto’s formal swearing in will happen later this month, but he is officially a senator. He had been co-chair of the Shelter Working Group — one of six interim groups created a month after the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires to craft legislative recommendations aimed at improving Hawaii’s policies and practices when it comes to fire and disaster response.

Gov. Josh Green with Maui’s new state senator, Troy Hashimoto, on Thursday. (Courtesy Office of the Governor)

Hashimoto said the group’s work was “pretty much done,” and it includes a public hearing Nov. 17. He said he would do what he can to help the working group, which is led by co-chair Rep. Luke Evslin. A final report from all six groups is expected Dec. 15.

Born and raised on Maui, Hashimoto holds a master of business administration from the University of Denver.

For almost eight years he served as former Maui County Council Chair Mike White’s executive assistant, where he focused on policy and budgetary matters. He also served as the chair of the Maui County Democratic Party for four years and was a student member of the Hawaii State Board of Education from 2004 to 2005.

Hashimoto was among three recommendations submitted to Green just three days ago by the Democratic Party of Hawaii. The party now has 30 days to submit three more names to the governor for the House District 10 seat that Hashimoto held. It represents a portion of Waiehu and Paukukalo, Wailuku, Wailuku Heights and Waikapu.

Hashimoto’s Senate term is up in 2024, and he said he expects to run for the seat next year.

“I’m in it for the long term,” he said.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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