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Two From Molokai Among Rep Nominees

Three nominees have been selected out of 13 applicants to replace Rep. Mele Carroll. Two of the nominees are from Molokai – Lori Buchanan and Lynn DeCoite – while the third, Lucienne de Naie, is from Huelo, Maui.

The three names have been forwarded to Gov. David Ige, who will make the final selection by April 1. Carroll, who resigned on Feb. 1 for health reasons, had held the District 13 seat, which encompasses East Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokini, since 2005.

Last Saturday, a 22-person committee from Molokai, Maui and Lanai convened using the University of Hawaii’s Skybridge interactive television system and interviewed the 13 applicants for the seat. Each candidate was given five minutes to present themselves and five minutes to answer questions from committee members.

Eleven of the 22 Maui County Democratic Party nominating committee members were from Molokai. The candidate selected will fill Democrat Carroll’s seat until elections are held in 2016.

“I am extremely impressed with the three applicants that we forwarded to the governor for consideration,” said Emillia Noordhoek of Molokai, District 13 Council Vice-Chair who ran the proceedings. “All were well-qualified, thoughtful and I know we can be proud to call one of them our representative. I appreciate their willingness to step-up and serve in this important role.”

Buchanan is a field outreach coordinator for the Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee and the co-owner of Molokai Security Service.

“I am the warrior for my community,” she said during her presentation. “I do my homework and will always seek the collective wisdom of my community… and I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions.”

Buchanan highlighted her countless hours of community service and strong relationships with current House and Senate members.

“The community I represent cannot own a home in the current conditions of our state,” Buchanan said, painting a picture of the families she sees living in old school buses covered in tarps held together with duct tape. “Our people are struggling to survive when we all should be thriving. It’s a very important time in our history and we need to be proactive not reactive.”

Buchanan is a member of the Marine and Coastal Zone Advisory Council, serves as a commissioner for the Legacy Lands Conversation Commission and is a former member of the Molokai Planning Commission.

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.

“Why am I running for this position? To ensure District 13 is never forgotten,” said DeCoite, describing herself as a mother, wife, business owner, community member and team leader.

As a third generation farmer, lobbying for water, agricultural and homestead issues are among her priorities. DeCoite said she has worked closely with Gov. Ige toward these goals, and has helped bring in millions of dollars in funding for the Molokai Irrigation System as well as Hawaii farmers.

DeCoite said she has also worked to fight the Food Safety Modernization Act, which she said brings extra expenses that “kill existing small farmers.”

“I’d be more effective if I was elected,” she said. “My record speaks for itself.”

Lucienne De Naie is a self-employed consultant. She serves as the secretary of the Haiku Community Association and is a member of the Maui Cultural Lands Advisory Board. She is a founding board member of the Haiku Living Legacy Project and a co-founder of the Haiku Living Legacy Project. She described herself as a subsistence homestead farmer who has lived in rural Maui for 30 years.

“I make my living by going out and getting things done,” said De Naie, which includes advising boards and commissions, doing policy analysis and grant writing, she said.

Among her accomplishments, she said she has helped write the Maui Community Plan and worked on county planning policies.

“I’d be happy to be your voice and tell your story,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere – I intend to live and die in the 13th District.”

Other applicants considered were Shay Chan Hodges of Haiku, Scott Crawford of Hana, Alberta De Jetley of Lanai, David Fry of Haiku, Barbara Haliniak of Molokai, Susan “Netra” Halperin of Haiku, Lance Holter of Paia, Robert Parsons of Haiku, Kay Okamoto of Lanai and Noelani Yamashita of Molokai.

“It is my hope that the Governor will make a decision on the replacement sooner than later, so that one of the most unique districts, the 13th District, can once again have representation in the State House,” said Troy Hashimoto, Chair of the Maui County Democratic Party. “It is an especially important time, as many bills are being actively considered.”

The Governor has 60 days following the first day of the vacancy to make an appointment to the House seat.

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