Speaker Saiki condemns corruption, says ‘people of Hawaii deserve better’

Rep. Scott Saiki, the Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives / HNN File Image
Rep. Scott Saiki, the Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives / HNN File Image(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 2:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Scott Saiki said he shares the outrage of the people of Hawaii in light of the corruption allegations against former state Rep. Ty Cullen and former Senate Majority Leader Kalani English.

Speaker Saiki said in a statement Wednesday he was “shocked and in disbelief” after learning about the bribes upon receiving Cullen’s resignation letter following a House floor session.

“They broke the law. They compromised the Legislature. They violated the public trust. The people of Hawaii deserve better from their elected officials,” Saiki’s statement said. “The actions taken by the former legislators are deeply disturbing. This takes Hawaii backward at a time when we need to move forward. As Speaker, I condemn what happened.”

It continued, “All of us in the Hawaii Legislature must take action to rebuild the public’s confidence and trust. And we need to ensure that the legislative process reflects the public interest, and not special interests.”

Saiki said he met with members of the House Democratic Caucus to discuss the issue, and lay out his plan to rebuild trust.

Saiki pledged to fully cooperate with the U.S. Attorney, increase mandated ethics training for House members, and ensure full State Capitol access to the press during the temporary closure. They are also working on a plan to re-open the building to members of the public so they can participate in the legislative process.

“The bottom line is this: there is no place for this kind of conduct in the Hawaii Legislature. I pledge to do everything in my power as Speaker of the House to rebuild integrity and trust in our legislative process,” the statement concluded.

Over in the Senate, President Ronald Kouchi echoed the message of rebuilding trust in government.

“The events that unfolded yesterday were surprising and unfortunate and casts a pall over the Legislature and the work that we are trying to accomplish for the people of Hawaii. We must rededicate ourselves and work to rebuild the public’s trust in government,” he said in a statement.

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