Shan Tsutsui is a son of Hawaii and is working hard to help make Hawaii better place to live for this and future generations.
Local Roots, Local Values
Shan was born and raised in the rural, tranquil setting of Wailuku. The tightknit neighborhood he grew up in fostered the local, simple lifestyle where the sense of community was valued.
He attended Kahului Elementary and Maui High School, where he got his first taste of politics in student government both as Junior Class Treasurer and Senior Class President.
Because of his strong connection to his local roots, Shan chose to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and earned a degree in economics. For nearly a decade, he worked at various finance and investments firms. He also learned first-hand about the struggles and successes of owning a small business as the owner of Keiki Time.
At the age of 31, he was elected to the Senate to represent Central Maui — Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului and Paia in 2002. As a freshman senator, he was selected among his peers to be part of the Senate Leadership as Majority Caucus Leader. His professional work experience certainly paid off, giving him the skills and knowledge as an effective vice chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, overseeing the allocation of capital improvement project funds throughout the state.
Youngest Senate President and First Senate President from Maui
In 2010, Senators selected him to serve as Senate President. He became not only the first Senate President from Maui, but also the youngest to ever hold the seat in the history of Hawaii.
As Senate President, he was able to institute his collaborative style of leadership by providing the opportunity for all senators and their respective districts to be involved in the process. He was also able to focus on statewide policy issues and unique needs of the state’s diverse communities.
Shan demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, including helping to navigate the Legislature through budget shortfalls and contentious financial times. Shan has and continues to work collaboratively with leaders and constituents alike, not concerning himself with the usual politics, but instead seeking to foster a collaborative working environment where the responsibility and authority is shared and all are able to reap the benefits of focusing on the issues at hand. As a trusted and inclusive leader, Shan reached across the aisle and named the Senate’s lone republican vice chair of a major committee.
Shan became the 12th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii at the end of 2012, following the death of the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. Since becoming Lieutenant Governor, Shan has been working on initiatives of his own, such as the R.E.A.C.H. program and the Hawaii Sports Development Initiative.
Shan and his wife Lyndelle live in Wailuku and are proud parents of three young daughters, Mikayla, Kaylee and Kenna. With a young family, Shan understands the challenges and adversities of Hawaii’s parents raising their children in a high-cost environment and their desire to build a strong and secure future for them.