Governor appoints Hilo native to fill Rep. Tsuji’s seat

Gov. David Ige appointed Thursday a replacement to fill the seat of late Rep. Clift Tsuji.

Chris Todd was one of three nominees selected by the Hawaii County Democratic Party. The governor is required by law to make his selection from that list.

He was born and raised in Hilo, where he earned his college degree in economics and political science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He held several positions at the Suisan Fish Market before becoming distribution manager for Hawaii Paper Products last year.

Todd also coaches football at Hilo High School. His wife, Britney, is a teacher at Kalanianaole Middle School.

“I’m just very thankful and grateful for the opportunity, because I understand that to a certain degree, this requires a leap of faith that even though he’s (Ige) met me and interviewed me, that to get to this point, he has to believe in me in some capacity,” Todd said. “I want to go in and be as humble as possible and learn has much as possible from the people who are already in their position, so with that in mind, I’m not going to come in with guns blazing and overhaul the system. I’m going to go in there to learn as much as possible.”

Todd tells us his priorities going into this next legislation are education and addressing poverty.

“I am happy to support the Governor’s appointment of Chris Todd to succeed Rep. Clift Tsuji in the Hawaii House of Representatives,” House Speaker Joseph Souki said in a statement. “Chris has big shoes to fill, but his business and coaching experience along with being born and raised in Hilo will give him a wide knowledge of the issues and concerns of Big Island residents.

“We miss Clift at the State Capitol but believe the District 2 seat will be in good hands.”

Tsuji died on Nov. 15 at the age of 75. He represented House District 2, which includes Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa and Waiakea.

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