HONOLULU (KHON2) — Dr. Libby Char got the thumbs up on Wednesday, March 3, from the Senate Health Committee. Members voted to recommend her appointment as Department of Health (DOH) director.

Dr. Char stepped up to the plate and started leading the DOH in September, 2021.

In written testimony, the governor said her leadership is critical as Hawaii continues to fight COVID-19. Many organizations and department heads also threw their support behind Dr. Char.

“To be a leader, you must have the respect for who you are leading. And Dr. Char has that and more,” said Director Jade Butay of the Transportation Department.

“Dr. Char has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to make sound, evidence-based decisions,” said Hilton Raethel of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

“She’s done a tremendous job at keeping Hawaii’s safe,” added Major General Kenneth Hara.

Dr. Char explains it is about being prepared in a crisis when asked about her priorities.

“I’m trying to keep the Department positioned at least a step ahead of what we envision coming next so that we’re prepared for it. When it comes, we know it’s coming. And I think it means that we’re going to have to compromise on some things what otherwise wouldn’t have been acceptable,” said Dr. Char.

Sen. Joy San Buenaventura thanked Dr. Char for stepping up at a time of controversy and asked for a good working relationship.

“I just request that indeed that there is a difference in policy decisions, and the big example was the contact tracing problem and COVID-19 testing, whether or not you can work with us rather than against us,” said Sen. San Buenaventura, who is a committee member.

The Senate will have a floor vote to confirm Dr. Char’s nomination now that the Health Committee has made its recommendation.