When Gov. David Ige appointed substitute school teacher Laura Acasio to the Hawaii State Senate on Tuesday, the governor praised her integrity and said, “I look forward to working with her.”

But if Acasio had gotten her way in July 2019, Ige wouldn’t have been around this week to appoint her.

Laura Acasio
Gov. David Ige appointed substitute teacher Laura Acasio to the Hawaii Senate on Tuesday, less than two years after Acasio called for Ige’s impeachment in this Facebook post. Facebook

In a post still on her Facebook page Wednesday, Acasio shared a Change.org petition calling to impeach the governor for supporting construction of the long-delayed Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea. At the time, despite protests from Native Hawaiian activists opposing the telescope, Ige had announced construction soon would start.

“We have followed a 10-year process to get (to) this point, and the day for construction to begin has arrived,” he said in a July 2019 news release.

The petition circulated by Acasio, meanwhile, called “for the impeachment or resignation of Governor David Ige for not upholding the laws that protect the Hawaiian people, Hawaiian sacred land, and the laws protecting Mauna Kea.

“David Ige is choosing to protect corporate business over the rights of its own residents of that state that he was elected to govern and has failed to uphold his duties,” the petition continued.

The post caused a stir among some lawmakers during the Legislature’s opening day, which came just a day after Acasio’s appointment to fill the seat left vacant by newly elected U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele. But Ige’s office shrugged it off, saying the governor is aware of Acasio’s background and stance on the telescope, construction of which is on hold.

“The governor stands by his appointment and believes that Ms. Acasio’s broad experience and active community engagement would best serve the district,” his office said in a statement. “He is ready to work with Ms. Acasio and all members of the Hawaii State Legislature in the best interest of the people of the State of Hawaii.”

Ige said he selected Acasio from a list of names submitted to him by Hawaii Democratic Party officers on Hawaii Island.

Acasio did not return a request for comment.

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