Hawaii State Senator Gil Keith-Agaran has decided to resign by October 31 due to potential ethical concerns related to his involvement in both politics and the legal profession. This move comes in the aftermath of the devastating Maui wildfires that resulted in significant casualties.
At least 115 people are dead, and hundreds remain missing following the blaze.
The concerns were amplified when Keith-Agaran was highlighted in a flyer discussing the impact of the Maui wildfires alongside several law firms, including one he is associated with, local media reported. Given his position as vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, there were apprehensions about access to non-public information beneficial for potential related lawsuits.
“I believe that this decision best serves the interests of the Maui people especially given what they have gone through over the last three weeks, and what they continue to experience,” said Keith-Agaran.
“As we know, the Maui community — including members of my extended clan who lived and worked in West Maui — have suffered tremendous losses, including losing loved ones. Some, to this day, are still not identified or found,” he added. “The choice for me has always been and will always be my family and community, and this decision is consistent with that overriding value.”
As anticipated, lawsuits have emerged in response to the wildfires. Notably, Maui County has filed a case against the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), accusing them of mismanagement that contributed to the fire's severity. HECO has expressed disappointment in the legal action, especially since investigations are ongoing.
The responsibility now lies with Governor Josh Green to appoint a replacement for Keith-Agaran within the next 60 days.