Name on ballot:
Lynn Pualani DeCoite
State House – District 13
State Representative, Farmer, Rancher
49 (will be 50 on Election Day)
Previous job history:
Board member, Lokahi Pacific (2004-2012 )
• Board Member, Hikiola Cooperative (2008-2011)
• Board Member, Molokai Irrigation Advisory Board (2008-2012)
• Board Member, Molokai Chamber Foundation (2006-2012)
• Board Member, The Molokai Planning Commission (2006-2009)
• President, Molokai Homestead Farmers Alliance (2006-2015)
• Chairperson, Farm Service Agency (2007-2015)
• Member, Hawaii State Board of Agriculture (2012-2015)
Previous elected office, if any:
Member, Hawaii State House of Representatives – District 13 (Feb. 20, 2015 – present)
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
As a Native Hawaiian, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Aunty, Farmer, Rancher, Business Owner who has lived her whole life on Moloka’i, I use my life and everyday experiences to drive my decisions and the actions I take for my constituents.
Over my past 5 years in office I have worked with my colleagues to bring in over 680 million dollars to my district in CIP and GIA funds. I have also introduced a wide range of legislation to address Agriculture, Education, Protecting our Natural Resources, Suicide Prevention, Health Services, Native Hawaiian and Women’s issues.
I believe that I have shown my dedication and passion I have to serve the people of District 13 – East Maui, Molokai and Lanai. I work everyday for the betterment of our communities and will to continue to do so as long as I am able. My title doesn’t affect my desire to serve but is does give me an advantage when I’m helping my community.
What will be your top priority if elected?
My priorities for District 13 remain the same; to ensure outreach and inclusion of all islands and residents when it comes to state services, resources, programs and jobs. While there are many issues to focus on and changing priorities depending on what is going on any given day, week or month – my main focus is to do what I can to help connect my constituents with the services they need – my priority is to serve the people.
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?
I supported the 14 day quarantine and pushed for the interisland quarantine as well. And with the rise in cases both here in Hawaii and across the country I support the delay in the pre-travel testing program until September.
As we re-open it is a combination of information, education and us as individuals taking on own kuleana to keep ourselves, our Ohana and community members safe and healthy.
We all want our economy back, we all want to get back to as much of a normal as possible. This is a team effort.
What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
A major thing is just making sure our residents know what services -and assistance is already available. Streamlining the information from the Federal CARES Funds and how those funds are providing services to our communities through State and County programs is key.
Community members hear about programs in the news, but it is not always clear how to access the services. I do my best to let my constituents know how to access these services through my weekly e-blast and my Facebook page, but sometimes it’s not even clear to me how someone accesses the help and it takes a series of phone calls and emails to get the answers.
We also need to look at promoting the high paid trade jobs and promoting job training programs to help our local residents qualify for these jobs.
The state should also look at helping contribute to the cost of medical coverage for employees so employers can pay higher wages to be more competitive.
Should public worker furloughs, pay cuts or downsizing be used to help the state deal with lower tax revenues and higher expenses during the pandemic? Why or why not?
Furloughs, pay cuts and downsizing should be a last resort. I think we (the State Government) need to look to see what we can do to be more efficient and see how best to utilize our resources and personnel.
This is something the we talk about all the time and call for audits and studies that take months/years – No, this needs to happen now. What do we need? What can we live without? Where is the waste/excess? Are we duplicating services at the State and County levels? And if so lets work collaboratively to combine these services so they are most efficient.
Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. If elected, what would you propose to support and diversify the state’s economy?
I would turn toward agritourism, now is the time which I’ve always said lets not talk the talk. Walk the talk. Everyone is capable of growing food, build cooperatives, hui up together to utilize each other’s strengths and inventory what we already have and look to market what we grow, and our culture along with tourism.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
With our state being as diverse as it is, it is important for EVERYONE to be treated equally in all aspects of their lives. I appreciate the care and support that the Maui Police Chief and the Maui Police Officers showed the recent protesters. We should have uniformity across the state with the police commissions and citizen review boards so that there is consistency for the disclosures of misconduct across the state.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
I support STEM technology, learning and jobs for our local residents. I have not made comments on TMT because that is not my District, my district is East Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe and Molokini. I do feel that if TMT is to be built that the other telescopes need to come down first. I respect the Legislators, County Leaders and community members on the Big Island and will support the decisions they make for their island community.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
I want to continue to help those that need a voice and to encourage and support those that have found their voice to continue to speak and be active. Sometimes all I have to do to help someone is to make a phone call or connect them to the correct resource/office and sometimes it takes phone calls, letters and meetings and/or legislation and more effort to get to a solution. I find value and fulfillment in doing the work and getting the results and answers for my constituents.
Along with being a member of the State House of Representatives, I am a 3rd generation farmer on Hawaiian Homestead Land on Molokai, a small business owner and a rancher. I have been married to my husband Russell for 29 years, we have three amazing children, Carrie, Russell Jr., and, Dillon, and are blessed with 2 grandchildren Kennedy Jane & Manuel!
There is nothing more important to me than family. I know and understand the worries and struggles we all face to provide for our families and that weighs heavy on my mind when I’m at the State Capitol working for all of us.
I truly love this job. The opportunity to serve my community is not something I take lightly; it is an honor to serve.
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