Maui Rep. Joe Souki's move to enlist the backing of the state House's seven Republicans to reclaim the role of speaker was a smart move on many fronts.
First of all, it ensures that Souki will have enough votes to wrest the leadership role from Calvin Say when the House organizes on Jan. 16, the first day of the Legislature.
Secondly, it demonstrates an openness to bipartisanship that many people talk about but few actually are willing to try. Souki admitted that "it will be a trial for both of us," but said the group he is working with seems "reasonable."
In return for their support, the Republicans will receive vice chairmanships of three committees - Energy and Environmental Protection, Economic Development and Finance.
If the experiment works - and there is no reason to believe it won't - Souki may well have set an example for bipartisanship that should be emulated at the federal level. The feds have a budget stalemate problem that could use a good dose of statesmanship and bipartisanship.
The third reason the partnership was a good idea is that a Souki speakership may result in more public servants in his mold. It has been noted here in the past that Souki is an excellent legislator, dedicated to serving all his constituents (even those who may disagree with him).
The prospects for the next legislative session are exciting. With Souki leading the House and Shan Tsutsui as Senate president, Maui will be well-represented.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.