The Hawaii Senate is the upper house of the Hawaii State Legislature. It consists of twenty-five members elected from an equal number of constituent districts across the islands and is led by the President of the Senate, elected from the membership of the body, currently Ron Kouchi. The forerunner of the Hawaii Senate during the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii was the House of Nobles originated in 1840. In 1894 the Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii renamed the upper house the present senate. Senators are elected to four-year terms and are not subject to term limits.
Like most state legislatures in the United States, the Hawaii State Senate is a part-time body and senators often have active careers outside government. The lower house of the legislature is the Hawaii House of Representatives. The membership of the Senate also elects additional officers to include the Senate Vice President, Senate Chief Clerk, Assistant Chief Clerk, Senate Sergeant at Arms and Assistant Sergeant at Arms. The Hawaii Senate convenes in the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu.
Ka ‘Aha Kenekoa
|Hawaii State Legislature|
New session started
|January 16, 2019|
Vice President of the Senate
Length of term
|Authority||Article III, Constitution of Hawaii|
|Salary||$57,852 per year + |
$175 per diem for non-Oʻahu members, or
$10 per diem for Oʻahu members (2014)
|November 6, 2018|
|November 3, 2020|
|Redistricting||Hawaii Reapportionment Commission|
|State Senate Chamber|
Hawaii State Capitol
From 2016 (when Sen. Sam Slom, Hawaii's sole Republican state Senator, was defeated in his bid for reelection) to 2018, the Democratic Party held all 25 seats in the Hawaii Senate. This made the Hawaii Senate the only state legislative chamber with no opposition members (excluding the officially nonpartisan Nebraska Legislature). It was the first time since 1980 (when the Alabama Senate and Louisiana Senate were all-Democratic) that any state legislative chamber had been completely dominated by a single party.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature (2018)||25||0||25||0|
|Latest voting share||96%||4%|
|President of the Senate||Ron Kouchi||Democratic||8|
|Majority Leader||J. Kalani English||Democratic||7|
|Minority Leader||Kurt Fevella||Republican||19|
|Chief Clerk||Carol T. Taniguchi|
|Assistant Chief Clerk||Jennifer T. Chow|
|Sergeant at Arms||Bienvenido C. Villaflor|
|Assistant Sergeant at Arms||C.M. Park Kaleiwahea|
|2||Russell E. Ruderman||Dem||Puna, Kaʻu|
|3||Dru Kanuha||Dem||Kona, Kaʻu|
|4||Lorraine Inouye||Dem||Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona|
|5||Gilbert S. C. Keith-Agaran[Note 1]||Dem||Maui||Wailuku, Waiheʻe, Kahului|
|6||Rosalyn Baker||Dem||South and West Maui|
|7||J. Kalani English||Dem||Maui, Kalawao||Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi and Kahoʻolawe|
|8||Ronald D. Kouchi||Dem||Kauai||Kauaʻi, Niʻihau|
|9||Stanley Chang||Dem||Honolulu||Hawaiʻi Kai, ʻAina Haina, Waiʻalae-Kahala, Diamond Head|
|10||Les Ihara, Jr.||Dem||Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Moʻiliʻili, Ala Wai|
|11||Brian Taniguchi||Dem||Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakolea|
|12||Sharon Moriwaki||Dem||Kakaʻako, Ala Moana, Waikiki, McCully, Moʻiliʻili|
|13||Karl Rhoads||Dem||Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuʻuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown|
|14||Donna Mercado Kim[Note 2]||Dem||Moanalua, ʻAiea, Fort Shafter, Kalihi Valley, Halawa Valley|
|15||Glenn Wakai||Dem||Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor|
|16||Breene Harimoto||Dem||Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ʻAiea, Royal Summit, ʻAiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor|
|17||Clarence K. Nishihara||Dem||Waipahu, Pearl City, Crestview, Manana, Pacific Palisades|
|18||Michelle Kidani||Dem||Mililani Town, Waipiʻo Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia|
|19||Kurt Fevella||Rep||ʻEwa Beach, ʻEwa by Gentry, Ocean Pointe, ʻEwa Villages, Iroquois Point|
|20||Mike Gabbard||Dem||Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, ʻEwa, Waipahu|
|21||Maile Shimabukuro||Dem||Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ʻOlina, Nanakuli, Maʻili, Waiʻanae, Makaha, Makua|
|22||Donovan Dela Cruz||Dem||Mililani Mauka, Waipiʻo Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Poamoho|
|23||Gil Riviere||Dem||Kunia, Schofield Barracks, Wahiawa, Waialua, Haleʻiwa, Kahuku, Laʻie, Kaʻaʻawa, Kaneʻohe|
|24||Jarrett Keohokalole||Dem||ʻAhuimanu, Heʻeia, Kaneʻohe, Kaneʻohe MCAB|
|25||Laura Thielen||Dem||Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawaiʻi Kai, Portlock|
The Hawaiʻi State Senate has been meeting at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol in downtown Honolulu since March 15, 1969. Previous to the decision of Governor John A. Burns to build the new Capitol building, the Hawaiʻi State Senate met in ʻIolani Palace.
Hawaiʻi Senate Vice President Donna Mercado Kim will make history on Thursday as she is installed as the first Filipina-American State Senate President.
The 2010 United States Senate election in Hawaii took place on November 2, 2010 concurrently with elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. The primary elections were held on September 18, 2010. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator and President pro tempore Daniel Inouye won re-election to his ninth term.2012 Hawaii Senate election
The 2012 Hawaii State Senate Elections were held on November 6, 2012. State senators in all 25 districts of the Hawaii State Senate were up for election. 9 seats were won in the primary uncontested. No seats changed parties in this election.Clarence K. Nishihara
Clarence K. Nishihara is a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate, representing the state's 18th district since his appointment in 2004. He is the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.Colleen Hanabusa
Colleen Wakako Hanabusa (born May 4, 1951) is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative from Hawaii's 1st congressional district from 2011 to 2015 and again from 2016 to 2019. She is a member of the Democratic Party and ran for her party's nomination for governor of Hawaii in 2018, challenging and losing to incumbent Governor and fellow Democrat David Ige.
Before her election to the United States House of Representatives, Hanabusa was a member of the Hawaii Senate. She served as the Senate Majority Leader before being elected Hawaii's first female president of the state senate in 2007. On August 24, 2011, she announced her intention to run for reelection to Congress.On December 17, 2012, after the death of Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, it was announced that Inouye had sent a letter shortly before his death to Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, stating his desire that Hanabusa be appointed to the seat. Abercrombie decided against appointing Hanabusa and selected Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz instead. Hanabusa challenged Schatz in the Democratic primary for the 2014 special election, but narrowly lost.In 2016 Hanabusa announced her intention to run in the 1st congressional district special election to fill the remaining term of Representative Mark Takai, who died in July 2016, and she won the Democratic primary for the race on August 13. Hanabusa also won the election on November 8, 2016, and was sworn in on November 14.In 2017 Hanabusa announced her decision to run for governor of Hawaii in 2018 rather than reelection to the House. She lost to incumbent Democratic Governor David Ige in the primary. Ige was subsequently reelected to a second term.Donna Mercado Kim
Donna Mercado Kim is an American Democratic party politician from Hawaii. She is a state senator from Senate District 14 and was President of the Hawaiʻi Senate for almost three years.Hawaii Marriage Equality Act
The Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 is legislation passed by the Hawaii State Legislature as Senate Bill 1 (SB1) and signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie which legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Prior to the bill's enactment, same-sex couples in the state of Hawaii were allowed to form civil unions (since 2012) or reciprocal beneficiary relationships (RBRs, since 1997); however, civil unions are both legally limited to civil officials in their performance and unrecognized by the federal government, and RBRs are even more limited by the rights and privileges accorded.Hawaii Senate Bill 232
Hawaii Senate Bill 232 is a 2011 law which legalizes state recognition of civil unions in the state after January 1, 2012. Initiated in the Hawaii Senate and substantively similar to 2010's Hawaii House Bill 444, which was vetoed by then-Governor Linda Lingle. SB232 was backed by her successor, Neil Abercrombie.
The bill was passed on January 26, 2011, by the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee in a 3–2 vote and was passed by the full Senate 19-6 on January 28. A modification to the bill was then made in the House of Representatives before passage on February 11 by a vote of 31–19,; the Senate passed the modified bill on February 16 by a vote of 18–5.
Abercrombie's office confirmed after the passage of the bill by the Legislature that he would sign the bill within 10 legislative days of the passage, and the bill was signed into law as Act 1 on February 23.The Hawaii Civil Union Act 2011 is still in force, despite Hawaii providing same-sex marriages since December 2, 2013, under the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act 2013.J. Kalani English
Jamie Kalani English is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate since January 16, 2013, representing District 7. English served consecutively from 2001 until 2013 in the District 5 and District 6 seats.Kauai County, Hawaii
Kauaʻi County is a county in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. It consists of the islands of Kauaʻi, Niʻihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula. As of the 2010 Census the population was 67,091. The county seat is Līhuʻe.The Kapa'a Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Kauai County.Kurt Fevella
Kurt Fevella is a Republican member of the Hawaii Senate, representing the 19th District since 2018. He was the first Republican to be elected to the Hawaii Senate since Sam Slom in 2012. As a result of being the only Republican in the Senate, he is the de facto Minority Leader.Les Ihara Jr.
Les S. Ihara Jr. (born April 19, 1951 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate since January 16, 2013 representing District 10. Ihara served consecutively from 1995 until 2013 in the District 9 and District 10 seats, having served consecutively in the Hawaii State Legislature from 1987 until 1995 in the Hawaii House of Representatives.List of presidents of the Hawaii Senate
The President of the Hawaii Senate is the presiding officer of the upper chamber of the Hawaii Territorial and Hawaii State Legislature.Michelle Kidani
Michelle N. Kidani (born September 30, 1948 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate since January 16, 2013 representing District 18. Kidani served consecutively from 2009 until 2013 in the District 17 seat.Mike Gabbard
Gerald Michael Gabbard (born January 15, 1948) is an American politician, serving as a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate, and an anti-LGBT rights advocate. He has represented State Senate District 20 since 2006. Gabbard rose to prominence for his successful effort to pass a 1998 amendment to the Constitution of Hawaii to give the state legislature "the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples". Gabbard, who was born in American Samoa, is the first person of Samoan descent to serve in the Hawaii Senate. His daughter, Tulsi Gabbard, is the U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd district and has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020.Robert Bunda
Robert "Bobby" Bunda (born April 25, 1947) is a former Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate, representing the 22nd District from 1994 through 2010, when he resigned his position in an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii. Previously he was a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1983 through 1994.
He is the first Filipino American to attain the presidency of any state legislature in the United States.
He attended Ludwigsburg American High School in Stuttgart, Germany, Leilehua High School, Texas Wesleyan College where he earned his Bachelor of Science in 1974, and the University of Dallas for his graduate studies.
The 2009 Achievement Award for Public Affairs was conferred to Bunda by Filipinas Magazine. The magazine, self-described as "the Magazine for Filipinos Worldwide" named Bunda as among the "brightest lights" of the Filipino community.Bunda announced on October 13, 2009, that he had entered the 2010 race for Lieutenant Governor for the State of Hawaiʻi. Bunda subsequently lost the election to former state legislator and state party chairman Brian Schatz.Ron Kouchi
Ron Kouchi is a Democratic politician and current 14th President of the Hawaiʻi Senate (replacing Donna Mercado Kim who lost her position in an unusual mid-year leadership reorganization).Rosalyn Baker
Rosalyn H. Baker (born September 20, 1946 in El Campo, Texas) is an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate since January 16, 2013 representing District 6. Baker served consecutively from 2003 until 2013 in the District 5 seat, and previously served from 1993 until 1999, having served consecutively in the Hawaii State Legislature from 1989 until 1993 in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Baker was appointed to the Senate in 1993 and currently serves as the Senate Chair of Commerce and Consumer Protection.Shan Tsutsui
Shan S. Tsutsui (born August 9, 1971) is an American politician who was the 12th lieutenant governor of Hawaii from 2012 to 2018. A member of the Democratic Party, he was previously a member of the Hawaii Senate from 2003 to 2012, and he served as President of the Senate from 2010 to 2012. On January 29, 2018, Tsutsui announced his resignation, effective January 31.Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico; March 26, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and former television panelist. He is best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, piano, and percussion. He is known as the "Demon of Screamin'" due to his high screams and his wide vocal range. He is also known for his on-stage acrobatics. During his high-energy performances, Tyler usually dresses in bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand.
In the 1970s, Tyler rose to prominence as the lead singer of Aerosmith, which released such milestone hard rock albums as Toys in the Attic and Rocks, along with a string of hit singles, including "Dream On", "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk This Way". By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Tyler had a heavy drug and alcohol addiction and the band's popularity waned. In 1986, Tyler completed drug rehabilitation and Aerosmith rose to prominence again when Tyler and Joe Perry joined Run-DMC for a re-make of the classic Aerosmith song "Walk This Way," which became a Top 5 hit. Aerosmith subsequently launched a remarkable comeback with the multi-platinum albums Permanent Vacation, Pump, Get a Grip and Nine Lives, which produced a combined thirteen Top 40 singles and won the band numerous awards. During this time, the band embarked on their longest and most extensive concert tours, promoted their singles with conceptual music videos and made notable appearances in television, film and video games.
In the wake of this success, Tyler emerged as one of the most enduring rock icons. Since the late 1980s, he has embarked on several solo endeavors including guest appearances on other artists' music (working with artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, Mötley Crüe, Santana, Pink and Keith Anderson), film and TV roles (including as a judge on American Idol and several cameo and guest appearances in other programs and films), authoring a bestselling book and solo work (including the Top 40 hit single "(It) Feels So Good" in 2011). While tension with his Aerosmith bandmates boiled in 2009 and 2010 after he fell off the stage at a concert, had a relapse with prescription drugs (which he successfully received treatment for in 2009), and signed on to American Idol without telling his bandmates, Tyler has continued to record music and perform with Aerosmith, after more than 48 years in the band. In 2016, Tyler released his debut solo album, We're All Somebody from Somewhere, a country rock album that included the hit single "Love Is Your Name". Tyler supported the album with the "Out on a Limb" Tour. Tyler continues to perform both solo (with the Loving Mary Band as his backing band) as well as with Aerosmith.
Tyler is included among Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers. He was ranked third on Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Aerosmith and in 2013, Tyler and his songwriting partner Joe Perry received the ASCAP Founders Award and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Members of the Hawaii State Senate
|United States Congress|