HONOLULU (KHON2) — A race to fill the state’s Senate District 7 seat is underway following the retirement of Senator J. Kalani English.
The Democratic Party of Hawaii says it has received six applications from interested members to fill the vacant position.
The senate seat represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i and Kaho‘olawe.
While only three candidates will be presented to Gov. David Ige for consideration, the following people have submitted applications and met the requirements to be considered for inclusion on the final list:
● Leo Caires of Maui, a community leader, agricultural business owner and renewable energy executive.
● Lynn DeCoite of Molokaʻi, the current Representative for House District 13 and a small
business owner, farmer and rancher.
● Riki Hokama of Lānaʻi, a delegate to the 1978 Con-Con and longtime County Council
member who served as Budget Chair and Council Chairman of Maui.
● Timothy Lara of Lānaʻi, a leader in sustainable tourism, nonprofit board member and
former Maui County Democratic Party Chair.
● Walter Ritte of Molokaʻi, a former high school teacher, coach, OHA Trustee and longtime
community leader and advocate.
● Yuki Lei Sugimura of Maui, the current Council member for Upcountry Maui who also
previously served as the Vice Chair of the Maui County Democratic Party.
“I’m pleased to see that there are strong applicants from all parts of Senate District 7, including
candidates from Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. All of the candidates possess a strong record of community service and I encourage the officers of the selection body to carefully consider what each applicant brings to the table,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
The approximately 60 officers of the Democratic Party’s Precinct Clubs and House District Councils within Senate District 7 will meet virtually on Saturday, May 15 at 10 a.m. to vote on the three names that will ultimately be sent to the governor.
At the meeting, each eligible officer will be permitted to vote for up to three different candidates.
Once voting is complete, a public announcement will be made about the three names that will be
transmitted first to the State Party Chair, and then to the Governor, who has until June 30 to make an
appointment from the list.