Front Row Left to Right: Representatives Beth Fukumoto, Lauren Cheape and Cynthia Thielen
Back Row Left to Right: Representatives Aaron Ling Johanson, Gene Ward, Bob McDermott and Richard Fale
Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley) announced to the House Minority Caucus that he would not be seeking re-election as Minority Leader because he felt it was time for the next generation to step into leadership.
“I’m proud of our new Caucus that has just been infused with youth, brains and energy. Our caucus faced some tough losses this election cycle, but we came out of it with a caucus in which the majority of members are under the age of 33. Giving them the opportunity to lead is the right thing to do,” Rep. Gene Ward said.
Following Ward’s announcement, the House Minority Caucus met today to elect Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, 32, as House Minority Leader and Rep. Beth Fukumoto, 29, as House Minority Floor Leader, following the move of former floor leader Kymberly Pine to the City Council.
“I’m honored to be leading the Republicans in the State House. Gene Ward has always encouraged and mentored young leaders, and I appreciate his decision to push us forward. His advice and counsel will continue to be instrumental in moving the Republican caucus in new directions for the benefit of our state and its future,” Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson said.
“Gene Ward was one of the first people to encourage me to get into politics. We’ve worked together in varying capacities at the legislature, and he’s always been one of my greatest supporters,” Rep. Beth Fukumoto said.
Ward served as Minority Leader from 1993 to 1998 and again from 2010-2012. From 1999 to 2006, he served as presidential appointee in Washington, DC at the U.S. Agency for International Development and later became Peace Corps Country Director in East Timor. Ward earned a PhD from the University of Hawaii.