The Democratic Party of Hawaii on Sunday announced the names of seven applicants hoping to replace Kai Kahele at the Capitol.

The former state senator representing Hilo resigned last week in advance of his swearing in to Congress in January.

The applicants who fulfilled “prescribed legal requirements” are as follows: Laura Acacio, Jennifer Kagiwada, Amy Kalili, Wil Okabe, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Maureen Namaka Rawlins and Chris Toshiro Todd.

Wide view of the Senate floor. Legislature Crossover 2020
The Hawaii Senate chamber. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Several of the applicants are fairly well-known: Todd currently represents parts of Hilo and other areas in the state House, Onishi served on the Hawaii County Council and Okabe is a former head of the Hawaii State Teachers Association and former Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim’s managing director.

Kalili is formerly worked with Hawaii News Now and is known for her work with the nonprofit Aha Punana Leo and the Merrie Monarch Festival.

The next step, according to a press release, will be a virtual meeting Wednesday of party officers affected by the Senate District 1 vacancy.

Once voting is complete, a public announcement will be made about the three names that will be submitted to the state party chair and then to Gov. David Ige, who will make the appointment.

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