State Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D, Lanai-Molokai-Paia-Hana) takes over the vacant Senate seat of Maui County state Sen. J. Kalani English, who resigned May 1 due to complications from COVID-19.
DeCoite becomes the 10th woman in the current state Senate, the most ever at one time, said Senate President Ron Kouchi.
Following her appointment by Gov. David Ige, DeCoite on Thursday said she plans to run for reelection to the Senate next year, when all 25 state senators and 51 House members face reelection. A new governor will also be elected.
Following the recommendation of three potential replacement candidates by the Maui Democratic Party, Ige will have 60 days to fill DeCoite’s seat in the state House.
Her new Senate seat includes Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe — essentially the same areas she represented in the House.
Ige appointed DeCoite to the state House in February 2015 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of state Rep. Mele Carroll, who left for health reasons and later died.
DeCoite has impressed Ige with her passion on a range of Maui County issues, including drought, tourist congestion on Hana Highway and ways to increase COVID-19 testing, Ige said.
“She will serve the residents of Senate District 7 very well,” Ige said. “Her community will continue to receive outstanding representation.”
DeCoite said she was “honored and taken aback” by Ige’s appointment, and thanked English “for trusting me” to represent his Senate district.
DeCoite lives in Hoolehua on Molokai where she is a third-generation homestead farmer. She went to Molokai High School and then Molokai Community College.
She is a mother of three and grandmother. DeCoite and her husband own and operate L&R Farms Enterprises LLC, where they grow Molokai purple sweet potatoes.