Shan Tsutsui embraces teamwork, valuable to lieutenant governor role

Shan Tsutsui Interview on Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Serving a decade as a state senator and almost two years as lieutenant governor, Shan Tsutsui, a Democrat from Maui, said Wednesday his ability to work with others would carry him forward if re-elected as lieutenant governor of Hawaii.

"One of the things that I realized early on was that it was really important that we build bridges, that you build a team, you're able to work with folks in the House, in the Senate, as well as the administration, to really get things done," Tsutsui said. "So I've taken that experience and kind of brought that to the lieutenant governor's office where I continued to work very closely with the Legislature. I worked closely with the governor, and working with the community, to really develop different types of programs that I feel could really help our state move forward."

After U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's death in December 2012, Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to replace Inouye in Congress. As state Senate President, Tsutsui then accepted his new role as lieutenant governor. Since taking on the position, Tsutsui worked on initiatives such as the R.E.A.C.H. Program -- seeking to provide an organizational framework for after-school programs for intermediate school students -- as well as the Hawaii Sports Development initiative -- aiming to build a thriving sports industry in Hawaii. Projects require him to work closely with the governor, which Tsutsui points to as a vital part of his role.

"I think it's important that any lieutenant governor has a great relationship with their governor because it's really up to him or her," he said.

Launching Hawaii News Now's series of interviews with lieutenant governor candidates, Tsutsui also spoke on pertinent issues including the Kakaako development project, homelessness, GMO labeling and the Hawaii Health Connector. 

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