HONOLULU (AP) — People are praising Gov. David Ige’s latest nominee to serve on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. They’re telling the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee that Sonja McCullen is highly qualified, smart and compassionate.

If confirmed, McCullen fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Associate Judge Derrick H.M. Chan last October.

What’s going on around the globe. Find out in International News

The state Senate last month voted down Ige’s first choice for the position, a white man, amid complaints that it had been decades since a Native Hawaiian had been appointed to the state’s appeals or supreme courts.

McCullen is Native Hawaiian and a Honolulu deputy prosecuting attorney, a role she has served in for a combined 11 years. She has also worked for the Crime Victim Commission and United Public Workers.

“It is with great honor and humility that I receive the appointment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals by Gov. Ige,” said McCullen. “From the start of my career as a teacher at Waiʻanae High School, to my ten plus years working in the Appellate Division of the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu, I have dedicated myself to public service. If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work my hardest in this new role, with the same spirit of public service and aloha for Hawaiʻi and all its people.”

Stolen jewels, boa constrictors killing owners, check out Weird News here

The committee is scheduled to vote on McCullen’s nomination Thursday. The full Senate is due to follow on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.