Joe Souki

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Rep. Joseph Souki stepped down as State House of Representatives speaker at the close of the 2017 Legislature. A week before the close of the session Souki learned that he had lost his coalition and turned in his gavel the day before the session ended. The next day Scott Saiki was named speaker.

Souki was elected House speaker at the start of the 2013 legislative session by a majority vote from the 51-member chamber. He reclaimed the title that former Speaker Calvin Say took from him 13 years before. (He previously served as speaker from 1993 to 1999.)

To get the necessary 26 votes, Souki cut a deal with the seven House Republicans. In return, the GOP was given three vice chair positions, including one on the important Finance Committee, which now has two vice chairs.

Souki’s election led to a re-organization of the House, which included new faces from a variety of backgrounds, including young Republicans. This was a change from a Say-led House, which had been criticized for not advocating change and reform.

In the 2011-2012 session, Souki served on the committees of Consumer Protection and Commerce, Judiciary, Labor and Public Employment and Public Safety. He was also chair of the Transportation Committee.

Souki was born on April 25, 1932, in Puunene, Maui. He received his bachelor’s degree from Woodbury University in 1954.

Before being elected into office, Souki worked as and administrator for Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. for 16 years, where he initiated the bus service, the senior citizen discount card program, Meals on Wheels and youth transportation services.

He has also been a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council and worked for the Maui Electric Company, Biddle Trade Bureau and Maui Soda and Ice Company.

The Silence On Sexual Harassment Needs To End Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Silence On Sexual Harassment Needs To End

The downfall of a longtime lawmaker should shake up the culture that has been protecting bad behavior for too long.

Joe Souki: I’m Sorry But I Don’t Remember Doing It Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Joe Souki: I’m Sorry But I Don’t Remember Doing It

The 86-year-old longtime Maui lawmaker insisted Wednesday he’s never acted badly toward women even though he’s resigning.

Former Hawaii House Speaker Forced Out Over Sexual Harassment Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Former Hawaii House Speaker Forced Out Over Sexual Harassment

Several women had filed ethics complaints against Joe Souki, a longtime lawmaker from Maui.

House Harassment Policy Puts Speaker In Charge Of All Complaints Cory Lum/Civil Beat

House Harassment Policy Puts Speaker In Charge Of All Complaints

The internal process for resolving sexual harassment complaints in the House doesn’t anticipate what happens if the speaker is the one being accused.

Denby Fawcett: When Does Hawaii’s Famous ‘Aloha Kiss’ Become Sexual Harassment? Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Denby Fawcett: When Does Hawaii’s Famous ‘Aloha Kiss’ Become Sexual Harassment?

In Hawaii’s hugging culture, it’s hard to tell when the traditional hug and kiss is innocent or inappropriate.

Lawmakers, Governor Seek Compromise On Maui Hospital Bill Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Lawmakers, Governor Seek Compromise On Maui Hospital Bill

UPDATED: The Legislature plans to amend the vetoed measure next week to provide severance pay to unionized workers, address legal flaws in the legislation and honor union contracts.
Lawmakers May Call Special Session To Aid Maui Hospital Workers Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Lawmakers May Call Special Session To Aid Maui Hospital Workers

UPDATED: Gov. Ige has said he might veto a current aid bill, calling $40 million in severance or pension bonuses to public employees "too generous."
2016 Session: AC For Schools, Help For Housing And Homeless Cory Lum/Civil Beat

2016 Session: AC For Schools, Help For Housing And Homeless

The House and Senate also killed bills to let psychologists prescribe drugs and fund a new jail on Oahu, but did hand water permits to A&B on Maui.
Joe Souki, A&B And Coffee Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Joe Souki, A&B And Coffee

The House speaker insists that a bill allowing Alexander & Baldwin to continue to divert East Maui streams is not special legislation.
Speaker Souki Raises Cash In Session Flickr: Tax Credits

Speaker Souki Raises Cash In Session

The Maui Democrat asked for donations of $1,000 smack dab in the middle of conference committee.
Speaker Souki, Rep. Ward Hold Campaign Fundraisers During Session PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Speaker Souki, Rep. Ward Hold Campaign Fundraisers During Session

The House commander in chief and former minority leader emeritus seek donations during critical time in session.
Calvin Say Challengers Ask Souki for Action PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Calvin Say Challengers Ask Souki for Action

The Hawaii House speaker is urged again to review the former speaker's residency qualifications.