Gov. David Ige said he expects to finish the task of appointing his Cabinet in the next two weeks, which would complete the process before the start of the regular session on Jan. 21.
Ige has yet to make appointments to the posts of attorney general and labor director. Russell Suzuki and Dwight Takamine, respectively, continue to serve in those roles as holdovers from the previous administration.
In an interview with the Star-Advertiser on Friday, Ige provided a glimpse into his thought process in selecting members of his Cabinet and the qualities for which he is looking.
See more of the interview with Ige in Monday's Star-Advertiser.
Question: How would you assess the process of selecting your Cabinet?
IGE: It is one of those things, coming back from the National Governors' Association (meeting in November) and just talking with other governors about that -- there are a couple of things that became very clear. I had the shortest (transition) time in the country, from Election Day to Inaugural. There was one other state, I think, that had a Dec. 1 inaugural as well, but there are not a whole lot of them.
Second point, I think, that a lot of the governors had made when we talked about it was that you’re Cabinet is the team that you put together that really will help you be successful. Nobody can be successful by (himself). Just talking about it with other governors, they really felt that the Cabinet is one of the very first, most important decisions that you have to make and it really is worth it to take the time necessary to assemble the team that can help you be successful. ... [S]ome things are worth taking more time, and putting the Cabinet together -- the consensus of all the governors there -- was that that is something that is worth taking the time to find the right people. It did make it a little easier for me to be more thoughtful about the Cabinet selection.
Question: What are the qualities you’re looking for in an attorney general candidate?
IGE: The attorney general has a special responsibility. Once I make that appointments, the attorney general is the people’s lawyer as well as the governor’s lawyer and, you know, in 90 percent of the issues that’s one in the same, but there are some issues that being the governor’s lawyer might be slightly different than being the people’s lawyer.
It’s about trying to find someone who can provide sound and balanced legal advice. I stick to the core principles for all the Cabinet members – I want to find people who are collaborative by nature, that really are open to consider all options and then are about doing the right thing the right way, so process is important. The ends do not justify the means in all instances. It really is about recognizing and being willing to commit to good processes as well as good outcomes.
Beyond that, I, as a manager of people, really believe in empowering our people to make the best decisions on behalf of the people of Hawaii. I am looking for leaders who are collaborative. More importantly, I think, I'm looking for leaders who believe that the community is part of the solution -- people that are willing to be engaged and take public comment and input.