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Posted: Friday, November 23rd, 2012 8:51 AM HST

Souki claims votes to return as House speaker

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) State Rep. Joe Souki says he's forming a coalition with Republicans and will become Hawaii's House speaker once again.

The Democrat said Wednesday forming a coalition will allow lawmakers to focus their attention on the issues.

House Minority Leader Rep. Aaron Ling Johnson says there's much work to do before the new session of the Legislature starts in January. The Republican says they decided to put politics aside and start working.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Souki confirmed 28 representatives will support his bid to become speaker. Seven are Republican.

In exchange for their support, Republicans will be named vice-chairmen of the House finance, energy and economic development committees.

Souki would replace current House Speaker Calvin Say. Say has been House speaker since he ousted Souki 13 years ago.

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