Will legislators follow Abercrombie’s lead?

Many in Hawai‘i assume that because Democrats control the governorship for the first time in eight years and have the biggest legislative majority in the nation, it’ll be smooth sailing and they’ll be able to pass anything they want.

Don’t be so sure; it all depends if they can agree on what they want to pass. Legislators are factionalized, jealously protective of their own power, have their own special interests to service and won’t necessarily be on the same page as the governor.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie so far has done his talking to lawmakers privately rather than publicly, which makes sense at this early stage as he strives for a collaborative relationship.

But sooner or later they’re going to butt heads on some major issue, and how he works his mojo will tell us a lot about how the next four years will go.

Much has been made of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s poor relationship with the Legislature, but relations weren’t much better during the previous Democratic administration of Gov. Ben Cayetano, who was frustrated by the refusal of lawmakers to rally behind his initiatives — particularly on economic revitalization.

Their lack of achievement in tough times helped lay the groundwork for Lingle’s election as our first Republican governor in 40 years.

Democratic legislators have been noncommittal, at best, on the initiatives Abercrombie laid out in his “New Day in Hawai‘i” plan, and there’s ample room for conflict on how to deal with a still-sluggish economy that’s expected to leave state revenues some $300 million short over the next two years.

But the new governor is exuding confidence that his more than 30 years of legislative experience at all levels of government will pay off in forging a partnership with the Legislature.

We’ll know soon enough.

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5 Comments on “Will legislators follow Abercrombie’s lead?”

  1. el guapo Says:

    Abercrombie already needs to appoint 3 senators to replace Hanabusa, Takamine, and Kokubun, and maybe some reps if they are appointed to replace any of those 3 senators. That should give him a good relationship with those individuals right away.

  2. Michael Says:

    I have confidence in Governor Abercrombie. He seems to be one in touch with the Hawaii People as should be. He also shows that spite his size he can stand tall to the tallest and not flinch. Governor Abercrombie shows he has what lingle does not.

    lingle sang the song but was no Frank Sinatra. Her way was not the way for Hawaii People. Now she is on the road, hoping it turns to gold and Off to see the Land of Oz. She ain’t no Dorothy, maybe the tin woman looking for a Heart. she showed she had courage and brains. she would not be complete without a Heart.

  3. Karl Barth Says:

    @el guapo I don’t think the three departing Senators were part of the coalition that organized the State Senate (Ag Board chair nominee Russell Kokubun was part of Colleen Hanabusa’s group along with Labor Director designee Dwight Takamine). In the ruling coalition are rural and neighbor island backers of failed Democratic candidate Mufi Hannemann, include Ron Kouchi, Donavan DelaCruz, Donna Mercado Kim and (so I understand from Maui friends) President Shan Tsutsui. Legislators are always a prickly bunch anyway, as Dave recognizes, and who knows what might set them off.
    I frankly don’t know who is close to Governor Abercrombie in the State House. Mark Takai, one of the so-called “dissident leaders”, sat with Mayor Hannemann during the inauguration, and actively campaigned for Mufi. Calvin Say, I don’t think, was a particular fan of Abercrombie or his Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (and Schatz was a former House dissident).

  4. Teddy Freddy Says:

    Welcome to the jungle.

  5. el guapo Says:

    Karl, I wasn’t thinking of it in that sense. I was thinking that 3 senators and maybe some reps, as individuals, are going to owe their new positions to the Gov. I know that he is going to be given a list to choose from, but they will have new jobs and someone owes someone else a favor or two. Exactly who owes who remains to be seen.

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