- Associated Press - Saturday, May 20, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii’s Speaker of the House has announced the new House leadership team.

House Speaker Scott Saiki chose Democratic female legislators to hold three out of the four leadership spots, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2pWBTYP) Friday. Seven out of 11 leadership positions will be held by Hawaii lawmakers in their early 40s or younger.

“As we look to build and reform the Hawaii State House of Representatives, it is important to ensure that women and the next generation of leaders are given the opportunity to lead under my tenure as Speaker,” Saiki said in a news release. “We have a real diversity of perspective and life experience in this leadership team that will position us well to lead the state on the many critical issues facing us today.”

Rep. Della Au Belatti, who represents Moiliili, Makiki and Tantalus, was named vice speaker.

Rep. Cindy Evans, who represents Kaupulehu, Waimea and Halaula, will take over as majority leader, a post left empty when Saiki became speaker of the House.

Rep. Dee Morikawa, who represents Niihau, Koloa, and Kokee, will take Evans’ place as majority floor leader.

Saiki has also appointed two majority policy leaders and five majority whips.

This is the first year two people will serve as policy leaders, according to the report.

Saiki took over as the top House leader earlier this month after Rep. Joe Souki resigned.

The next legislative session will convene in January.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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