This morning, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor approved the appointment of Leonard Hoshijo to serve as the Deputy Director of the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (“DLIR”). The next step in the process is for the full Senate to vote on whether to confirm Hoshijo’s appointment.
According to a press release issued by Governor Ige, Hoshijo is currently the Education and Policy Director for the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters. He also previously worked for many years and in many positions for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (“ILWU”). Several organizations and individuals, including the ILWU, submitted testimony in support of Hoshijo’s appointment. The testimony can be viewed on the Legislature’s website here: Hoshijo Testimony.
Interestingly, during the hearing, Senator Keith-Agaran asked Hoshijo whether his extensive background with labor unions would allow him to bring “balance” to the DLIR. Hoshijo responded he would bring “the perspective of the working people.” Senator Keith-Agaran then tried to clarify his question by asking whether Hoshijo would be bringing the perspective of unions to his position at the DLIR, and Hoshijo responded that the programs administered by the DLIR serve non-union employees as well. It appeared from the line of questioning that Senator Keith-Agaran was really asking whether Hoshijo can bring balance between unions and management, but the Senator and appointee were not on the same wavelength.
In addition, Senator Keith-Agaran also asked the representative from Governor Ige’s office about the status of the search for the DLIR Director, but the representative did not have any news to share.
At the conclusion of the hearing, all four senators who were present (Senators Keith-Agaran, Shimabukuro, Espero and Slom) voted in favor of Hosjijo’s appointment.