Waters' name floated as U.S. attorney in isles


POSTED: Friday, February 13, 2009

Former state Rep. Tommy Waters is under consideration for the U.S. attorney post in Hawaii, the highest federal law enforcement position in the state.

Waters' candidacy has been discussed in legal circles as a replacement for U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo, according to sources familiar with the process of naming the federal attorney.

Kubo was appointed by former President George W. Bush, but a new administration traditionally names its own candidates to the U.S. attorney positions around the country.

The office of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii's senior senator, who submits names for the position to the president, did not return calls for comment. Waters, now a private attorney, also did not respond to requests for comment.

But one source said Waters' name has already been sent by Inouye's office to the White House. Another source, a Democrat, said Waters' name was one of two that were sent, but the source did not know the other candidate's name.

Waters, 43, a graduate of the University of Hawaii law school and a former deputy public defender, had served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when he announced in 2008 that he was not seeking re-election.

The Democratic representative for Lanikai and Waimanalo served three terms but said he wanted to spend more time at home. At the time, he had two children, both under the age of 4. He said pressures of family life and earning a living were too much to juggle along with his political commitments.

Waters is now with the law firm of Hawk, Singh, Ignacio and Waters.

Kubo was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush in 2001, and had expressed interest in staying on the job after Barack Obama won the election. But Inouye's office said they expected that the White House would “;like to see a new face”; as the top federal attorney in Hawaii.

The U.S. attorney's office here has about 25 lawyers and represents federal agencies in criminal and civil cases.


Star-Bulletin reporter Richard Borreca contributed to this report.