KHPR: Governor Ige Appoints State Rep. DeCoite to Fill Seat of Retired State Senator

Gov. David Ige announced Thursday current state Representative Lynn DeCoite will be the next state senator for District 7 following the recent retirement of former Senator J. Kalani English.

“Lynn has represented much of the area since being appointed to the State House of Representatives (District 7) since 2015. She’s served her constituents well in the House, understands the issues people face, and will represent the residents in this district well in the Senate,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

English said previously that he would like DeCoite to be his successor.

She has a little more than a year remaining on Sen. English’s term, and she said she plans to hit the ground running.

“My priority has always been the priority of the people,” DeCoite said. “In this case, our budget is something that we are continuing to look at. I believe vaccination needs to also be at the top of that list, and the transitioning of businesses back into getting the economy up and running.”

Members of the Maui County Democratic Party’s Senate District 7 selection body had chosen three names from six applicants to send to Ige for his consideration.

  • Lynn DeCoite of Hoʻolehua, Molokaʻi, the current state Representative for House District 13 and a small business owner, farmer and rancher.
  • Yuki Lei Sugimura of Kula, Maui, the current Maui County Councilmember representing Upcountry Maui who has served as the Vice Chair of the Maui County Democratic Party.
  • Leo Caires of Kula, Maui, a community leader, agricultural business owner, and renewable energy executive.

Ige had until June 30 to select a replacement for English after he announced his retirement, citing issues caused from the long-term effects of COVID-19. English said he contracted the virus late last year while traveling outside the state with his family.

District 7 includes Hāna, East and upcounty Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe.

The Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi now has 30 days to send to Gov. Ige a list of candidates to replace Rep. DeCoite.

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Senator DeCoite with Governor Ige and Senate President Ronald. D. Kouchi at the press conference announcing her appointment to the State Senate

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