Governor Neil Abercrombie is losing his Deputy Communications Director, Laurie Au. Au is the fourth Abercrombie staffer to resign; all of those leaving were instrumental in the Governor’s election campaign or worked for him in Washington.
Sources say Au is leaving because of the resignations of Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye, Deputy Chief of Staff Andrew Aoki, and Communications Director Josh Levinson. Au is a former reporter for the Honolulu Star Bulletin.
Background sources say some in Democratic leadership have felt the young staffers were not paying enough attention to more experienced voices in the party and in the legislature. There were also complaints about the staff’s attempts to shield the Governor from the news media.
Governor Abercrombie leaves today, October 9, for a trip to Tokyo, Okinawa, and Beijing. He and Hawaii Tourism Authority officials say they are reaching out to international markets to strengthen economic relations prior to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. The Governor will then attend the National Governors Association U.S./China Governors Forum in Beijing and return to Hawaii October 21.
Abercrombie has named as new Chief of Staff Bruce Coppa, director of the state Department of Accounting and General Services.