Sen. Lynn DeCoite
The Eighth in a Series.
Editor’s note: In 2022, Leadership for the State and Maui County will be at the forefront with elections for Governor, Maui Mayor, Council, and due to reapportionment, all State Senators and State Representatives. The primary election will be held on August 13, 2022 with the General Election on November 8, 2022, and it’s not too early to start thinking about the type of State and County leaders needed. The first three months focused on potential gubernatorial candidates. The next three months focused on Maui County’s Mayor and Councilmembers. Last month, we focused on State Representatives Troy Hashimoto and Justin Woodson. This month we shift to the State Senate, with a focus on State Senator Lynn Decoite. Next month we will focus on State Senator Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran.
Sen. Lynn DeCoite
1. In 100 words or less, please tell us your background, including details about your family, education, and experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Senator Lynn DeCoite is a third-generation homestead farmer. She and her husband, Russell DeCoite, own and operate their family farm, known for the famous Molokai purple sweet potato. Senator is a devoted wife, proud mother of three children with two amazing grandchildren.
She has a history of being very involved in her community; she has served on the Boards for organizations like Lokahi Pacific, Hikiola Cooperative, Molokai Irrigation Advisory Board, the Molokai Chamber Foundation, the Molokai Planning Commission, Molokai Homestead Farmers Alliance, Farm Service Agency and the Hawai‘i State Board of Agriculture. She served in the State House from 2015–2021 and then was appointed to the State Senate in June 2021.
2. In 200 words or less, please tell us: a) What is your vision for Maui? b) What is right with Maui? c) What is wrong with Maui?
My vision for Maui County is to be able to create a balance with a thriving local economy and tourism, keeping in mind of local needs. What is wrong—Maui County, as with most of Hawai‘i, has had this dependence on Tourism for so long that has dominated our job market and economic industry. We need more balance so that our local residents can enjoy our islands and our culture while also having ways to economically thrive. The good/right—is our people, our shared cultures and our people’s determination to succeed in all aspects of life; family, culture and economic success.
3. In 125 words or less, please describe your relationship with Maui’s Filipino community.
I feel I have a strong relationship with the Filipino community across Maui County. I have worked side by side with my Filipino brothers and sisters throughout my career as a farmer/rancher. It has been my privilege to employ many Filipino workers (and workers of all cultures) on my family farm. In my career as a Legislator, I have seen the union workers come visit my office and also out in the public serving our communities across many job sectors. And of course, I love getting to socialize, talk story and eat ‘ono Filipino food any chance I get.
4. In 500 words or less, please identify and explain the three greatest needs of Maui’s Filipino community.
Over the years I’ve seen many needs from communities across our County. For Maui’s Filipino community I see increased needs for housing, job/job diversity and the need for time to celebrate and preserve culture. Filipinos, like many cultures here in Hawai‘i nei, always put family first and have a strong bond with their culture. Having to worry about housing and jobs takes away from time with family and teaching culture to our children. If we can build more affordable housing and have a better balance in job diversity, then we can have more time for our families, time for community events (with proper COVID protocols) and time to share culture with family and community.