Governor appoints former campaign chair to judgeship

Governor appoints former campaign chair to judgeship
(Image: Governor's office)
(Image: Governor's office)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The governor defended his appointment of a former campaign chairman to the bench on Friday.

Gov. David Ige appointed Keith Hiraoka, his former election campaign chairman, to be a judge in the First Circuit.

Hiraoka was one of three names the governor appointed to the Circuit Court; the selections are subject to Senate confirmation.

Speaking to reporters Friday, the governor acknowledged the appearance of a conflict of interest in Hiraoka's appointment, but said his pick is qualified and ready to serve.

"I can certainly see how people would feel that way," he said. "I would just like to note that the Judicial Selection Commission is independent. I've selected one of the nine members (the Judicial Selection Commission vetted) and they felt he was qualified on all of the lists."

Ige also appointed Family Court Judge Catherine Remigio to the Circuit Court and prominent Honolulu defense attorney Todd Eddins.

Judge Derrick Chan was appointed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

"I do believe that the four of them are the best qualified candidates," Ige said. "They all have long legal careers, They are well regarded in the legal community."

He added, "I do trust the Senate will do its constitutional duty and review all of the applicants and make a determination about whether they should be confirmed."

The governor's office said that Hiraoka resigned his position as campaign chair when the list of judicial nominations was announced.

If confirmed by the Senate, all four will serve for 10-year terms.

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