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The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill. Matthew Leonard and Richard Wiens.


Short takes, outtakes, our takes and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Nepo spouse: May Mizuno is on the short list to replace her husband, John Mizuno, in the state House District 29 seat (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, portion of Kalihi).

It’s not unheard of for a family member to replace a family member in political appointments. But this one raises The Blog’s eyebrow, especially at a time when there is greater scrutiny of nepotism in state and county government.

The person who will make the final pick is John Mizuno’s old pal and new boss, Gov. Josh Green. John is Hawaii’s new homeless czar, while May has served as John’s office manager at the Legislature.

Hernando Tan, May Mizuno and Edgar Fernandez are the candidates for John Mizuno’s former House seat. (Photo: Democratic Party of Hawaii)

Yes, it’s also not uncommon for an office manager to get the legislative nod. But getting appointed to a seat through political and familial connections certainly gives incumbents the leg up.

May Mizuno seems intent on being a state rep: She’s holding a fundraiser at Max’s Restaurant on Dillingham Boulevard this Thursday. Talk about measuring the drapes!

Also on the list to fill the seat are Edgar Fernandez, program specialist of the Workforce Development Division in the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; and Hernando Tan, former Unite Here! Local 5 president.

Cha-chinging in the new year: Since the Hawaii Legislature stopped allowing political fundraisers for members during legislative sessions, The Sunshine Blog has noticed a trend of senators and representatives increasingly scheduling fundraisers right before session begins, which this year is Jan. 17.

As of midday Tuesday, the following lawmakers planned to rake — or had already raked — in the campaign cash on session’s eve: Sens. Joy San Buenaventura, Dru Kanuha, Lynn DeCoite, Jarrett Keohokalole and Troy Hashimoto and Reps. Chris Todd, Kirstin Kahaloa and Cedric Gates (who is now running for Senate).

Legislators can still accept donations during session, however, an unfortunate practice that really should end. But don’t hold your breath.

Also holding fundraisers this month are Steve Alm, who has not officially said whether he’s seeking a second term of Honolulu prosecutor (sure looks that way, eh?), and Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth, who is running again.

Two prominent leaders not on the ballot again until 2026 still seeking donations include Gov. Josh Green and Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke.

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Paper chase: Under state law, public notice of state government meetings still must be posted in a public building. At the State Capitol, that location is a large posting board on the chamber level.

The responsibility to post falls to the Hawaii lieutenant governor, but last week Sylvia Luke said her office would be introducing legislation to end that practice and instead only post meeting notices to an online system.

Maintenance work blocking the public meetings posting board at the Capitol. (Photo: Office of the Lieutenant Governor)

To illustrate her point, Luke shared a slide presentation with the the House Finance Committee that showed a photo of the Capitol’s posting board obstructed by the seemingly never-ending maintenance work. Luke marveled at the fact that her staff somehow was able to post notices in spite of the physical obstacle and doubted that the public even used the board.

“At this day and age it really doesn’t make sense that it would be a paper form that has to be posted downstairs only,” she said. “If we really want to improve access, that is really contrary to access in an area we are trying to transform.” 

A Kennedy in Hawaii: Political royalty is expected in town Jan. 18 when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is set to speak at the Koolau Ballroom and Convention Center in Kaneohe.

An independent candidate for president, the son of the late attorney general and senator is trying to get on the ballot in all 50 states.

Depending on your politics, RFK Jr. is either the best hope for the nation in 2024 or someone with controversial views on vaccines and the assassinations of his dad and his uncle, President John. F. Kennedy.

Interested? Click here for more information.

The elephant in the room: Speaking of presidents and ballots, a dispute has erupted between a local conservative blogger and the Hawaii Republican Party that shows the continuing challenge of the state’s minority party to attract support.

Andrew Walden last week warned on his Hawaii Free Press website that Donald Trump would be removed from the March 12 presidential caucus.

“All eyes turn to Colorado and Maine as they remove ‘insurrectionist’ Donald J. Trump from their state election ballot,” wrote Walden, who said he was recently ousted from a caucus position in the party.

“Meanwhile, in Hawaii, infighting among Trump supporters is about to destroy the Hawaii Republican Presidential Caucus — and with it, any chance that Trump and seven other Republican candidates have to win Hawaii’s 19 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

State Chair Tamara McKay this week fired back, acknowledging that Walden had indeed been removed from his post but affirming that the caucus is still on and that Trump is indeed on the ballot along with Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy and three other candidates you’ve never heard of.

Who knows, maybe Hawaii will actually be a factor in presidential elections.


Read this next:

The Sunshine Blog: The Legislature Is About To Start. So Let The Bullying Begin


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About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill. Matthew Leonard and Richard Wiens.


Latest Comments (0)

What is May Mizuno's education and policy expertise to be qualified to be a State Rep...other than working as hubby's secretary? The perception of nepotism and corruption is terrible.

smedleybutler · 1 month ago

Through various actions, Governor Josh Green has already lost any future vote from me. If he appoints this nepotism appointment, he will find someone who rallies with whoever opposes him in the next election.

Scotty_Poppins · 1 month ago

'Don't understand what's the big deal over the possible appointment of May Mizuno to fill the vacancy left by her husband. If she is qualified, has no conflict of interest as may be determined by the ethics agency and has experience working at the legislature, why not? The voters will later decide her fate. In the meanwhile, the district needs to be represented during this upcoming legislature.

CPete · 1 month ago

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