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Donna Mercado Kim becomes first Fil-Am to head Hawaii Senate

January 4, 2013 5:00pm
Donna Mercado Kim has become the first Filipino-American to become senate president of Hawaii 12 years after she first served as senator in that state.

A former vice president of the state senate, she will be presiding as the president on January 16 during the 27th Hawaii state legislature convention, according to a report of the news site Asian Journal.

She will be replacing Senator Shan Tsutsui who became the Lieutenant Governor.

“We are solidified in dealing with the pressing issues facing our State. The Senate continues to be organized in a cooperative and focused manner. I’m humbled to receive the confidence and support of my colleagues,” Kim said in a state news release.

She will be joined by two other fellow Filipinos, Will Espero of the 19th district and Donovan Dela Cruz of the 22nd district.

Meanwhile, Ronald D. Kouchi will be taking over Kim's position as the vice president.

“We reached an agreement quickly so that we can continue to focus our attention on the issues and begin preparations for the 2013 session,” Kouchi said in addition to Kim's statement.


The reorganization of the upper house of Hawaii was triggered by the death of US senator Daniel Inouye with former Hawaiian lieutenant governor Brian Schatz being chosen to be his successor.

Inouye was known to be a staunch defender of Filipino rights in the US senate for being a moving force behind the increase of US military assistance to the Philippines and the awarding of more benefits to Filipino World War II veterans.

He died due to respiratory complications in a military hospital in Washington D.C. in December 2012 at the age of 88. - Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News
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