Hawaii’s governor is a woman, but not the one you think. It is Georgina Kawamura, state budget director.
Gov. Linda Lingle is attending the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona is also in Washington and Attorney General Mark Bennett is already in Washington preparing for his argument before the U.S. Supreme Court next Wednesday in the Hawaii ceded lands case.
According to the state’s order of succession, next up is Kawamura. Staffers report Acting Gov. Kawamura is getting a “lot more phone calls.” The state security detail has also been transferred to Kawamura. Kawamura’s governorship is expected to end Feb. 24.
For the detail-obsessed, here’s the law pertaining to succession:
§26-2 Order of succession to offices of governor and lieutenant governor. (a) When the office of lieutenant governor is vacant by reason of the lieutenant governor’s becoming governor, or the lieutenant governor’s failure to qualify, or the lieutenant governor’s removal from office, death, resignation, or otherwise, the powers and duties of the office of lieutenant governor shall devolve upon the president of the senate; or, if there is none or upon the president’s failure to resign promptly from all legislative offices held by the president, then upon the speaker of the house of representatives; or if there is none or upon the speaker’s failure to resign promptly from all legislative offices held by the speaker, then upon the attorney general, the director of finance, the comptroller, the director of taxation, and the director of human resources development in the order named; provided that any officer upon whom the powers and duties of the office of lieutenant governor devolve may decline the powers and duties without the officer’s resignation from the office by virtue of the holding of which the officer qualifies to act as lieutenant governor, in which event the powers and duties will devolve upon the next officer listed in the order of succession.
(b) When the lieutenant governor is temporarily absent from the State or is temporarily disabled, the powers and duties of the office of the lieutenant governor shall devolve upon the foregoing officers, other than the president of the senate and the speaker of the house, in the order named.
(c) The powers and duties of any officer acting as lieutenant governor under this section shall include the powers and duties of the office of governor when that office is vacant, or when the governor is absent from the State or is unable to exercise and discharge the powers and duties of the governor’s office, in addition to the other powers and duties of the lieutenant governor.
No person other than the elected governor or lieutenant governor shall become governor, provision being made by this section only for an acting governor.
(d) An officer succeeding to the powers and duties of the lieutenant governor, under subsection (b) of this section, may designate an officer in the office of the lieutenant governor to perform any or all functions other than those pertaining to the office of governor.
(e) During the period that any officer, under this section is exercising the powers and performing the duties of the office of governor or lieutenant governor by reason of a permanent vacancy therein, and not otherwise, the officer shall receive the compensation and perquisites of the governor or lieutenant governor, as the case may be.