Three House GOP Minority Members Named Vice Chairs


ImageReps Ward Thielen Johanson - Vice Chairs



January 17, 2013 –  At the Opening Day ceremonies of the 27th Hawaii State Legislature this morning, the Hawaii House of Representatives voted to include 3 of our Republican members in the State House leadership structure.

For the first time since statehood, Republicans will hold vice-chairmanships in three key committees: Finance, Economic Development & Business, and Energy & Environmental Protection.


Minority Leader Representative Aaron Ling Johanson, a former Deputy Chief of Staff at the United States Mint, will serve as Vice Chair of Finance.


Representative Gene Ward, a small businessman, will serve as the Vice Chair of Economic Development & Business.


Representative Cynthia Thielen, an environmental attorney, will serve as the Vice Chair of Energy & Environmental Protection. We offer our congratulations to the House Republican caucus on this historic achievement!




Thielen appointment as Vice Chair of the House Committee EEP

ImageState Representative Cynthia Thielen announced today her appointment as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP). With the recent shift in House leadership, Thielen and other legislators from both parties have received Committee leadership positions.

Highlights of Representative Cynthia Thielen’s career and relevant experience include:

  • Twenty years as an environmental and land use attorney in Hawai‘i representing numerous public advocacy groups
  • Co-counsel with attorney Boyce Brown on major environmental cases including H-3 and successfully representing the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana
  • Twenty-two years as Representative for District 50 (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) in the Hawai‘i State Legislature
  • Ranking member on three House Committees: Judiciary, Energy & Environmental Protection, and Water, Land & Ocean Resource.
  • Member of the House Committees on Consumer Protection & Commerce and Housing
    • Co-sponsored legislation which enables the State to aggressively pursue the goals set forth in the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative.
    • Advocates the implementation of wave energy in Hawai‘i as a firm, renewable energy source
      • Fought legislation exempting state and county projects from environmental review and county zoning

Rep. Thielen noted the historic nature of the appointment of three Republicans as Committee Vice Chairs. “This is the first time a Republican has been awarded a Committee leadership role in the House. My colleagues and I are honoured to be selected for these positions and look forward to working with the Committee Chairs, Members, and the general public as we consider bills of merit.”

The Hawai‘i House of Representatives has never had a bipartisan coalition determining nor had Republicans appointed to Committee leadership until now. The Senate preceded the House in this action in 1981 as part of a backing for Senate President Dickie Wong, the first time a bipartisan coalition was formed. Democratic members of that historic Senate coalition included now veteran politicians Governor Neil Abercrombie, Governor Ben Cayetano, and Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Chairman Dante Carpenter.