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Molokai Candidates Vie for Rep. Seat

Four Molokai residents are among those competing for a State House of Representatives seat left vacant following Rep. Mele Carroll’s resignation last month. The District 13 seat, which encompasses Molokai, Lanai, Paia, Haiku, East Maui and Kahoolawe, has received 13 applications from candidates around Maui County, according to the Maui County Democratic Party.

Molokai applicants are Lori Buchanan, Lynn DeCoite, Barbara Haliniak and Noelani Yamashita. Others include Shay Chan Hodges of Haiku, Scott Crawford of Hana, Alberta De Jetley of Lanai, Lucienne DeNaie of Huelo, David Fry of Haiku, Susan “Netra” Halperin of Haiku, Lance Holter of Paia, Robert Parsons of Haiku and Kay Okamoto of Lanai.

In a press release last Saturday, the Maui County Democratic Party announced that three candidates will be selected by a 22-member committee, and the Governor will make the final appointment.

The 22 members of the District 13 Council will comprise the official nominating committee and will meet on Saturday, Feb. 14.  Each candidate will be allowed to speak to the committee for up to 10 minutes, then committee members will vote for up to three candidates, according to the release.

The final three names as identified by the nominating committee will be given to the Maui County Democratic Party Chair and the Hawaii Democratic Party Chair, who will then forward the names to the Governor.  The Governor has 60 days following the first day of the vacancy to make an appointment to the House seat.

The top three names selected by the nominating committee will not be released, and the Governor may choose whether to make those names public.

From Molokai, Buchanan is a field outreach coordinator for the Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee and the co-owner of Molokai Security Service.  She served as a member of the Molokai Planning Commission, according to information released by the Maui County Democratic Party.

DeCoite is the owner of L&R Farm Enterprises and R.J. Snacks.  She serves as a board member of the State Board of Agriculture and is the president of the Molokai Homestead Farmer’s Alliance.

Haliniak is the president and owner of The Business Depot, a bookkeeping and payroll service.  She also serves as president and founder of Molokai Island Foundation, which supports inclusion of the STEM project in a school’s curriculum.

Yamashita is the Executive Director of Ka Honua Momona International, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing natural and cultural resources and is a graduate of both the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Princeton University.

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