State Rep. Jessica Wooley and state Rep. Cindy Evans, two of the holdouts in the House leadership struggle, met privately with state House Speaker Calvin Say on Friday and informed him that they support state Rep. Roy Takumi for speaker.
Say has 24 of the 26 votes he needs to remain as speaker, while state Rep. Sylvia Luke has 16 votes in her dissident faction. Wooley, Evans and Takumi had yet to commit until Friday.
“It’s time for change and an end to the divisiveness in the House. I have remained uncommitted for over two weeks because, like Rep. Takumi, I believe that we need to maximize the leadership and talents of every member, and we can do that only with a compromise,” Wooley (D-Kaneohe, Kahaluu, Laie), said today. “Our main responsibility is to improve the quality of life for the state, and we can do that best if we all work together.
“I am talking to House members on both sides of the divide to form working and policy groups now because we are ready to work. We have so many challenges in front of us and we have a responsibility to our constituents to end this stalemate. I urge my colleagues to realize that no matter which side they are on, it’s time for a compromise. It’s time to unify the House and for us to work together.”
Say and his allies did not consider the situation an impasse as of Friday, since the three votes were still on the table and speaker believed he had options in the form of leadership posts and committee chairmanships to offer.
If Wooley and Evans are now behind Takumi, and Luke’s 16 votes are solid, it may be difficult to describe the situation as anything other than an impasse.
Takumi has been actively courting votes. His pitch, according to several sources who have been approached, is not to try to peel votes away from Say or Luke. The Pearl City Democrat is asking for commitments in the event of a stalemate.
Say loyalists are reluctant to break ranks since they signed their names in support for the speaker. Reneging would be unlikely unless the speaker himself acknowledges there is an impasse or the situation drags on for so long that it is obvious there is stalemate.
Takumi said on Friday that if he becomes speaker he would choose from both the Say and Luke factions to form his leadership team and committee chairmanships.