Governor David Ige, already under fire for choosing Castle & Cooke lobbyist Carleton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, has made two more controversial appointments. The day after State Representative Mele Carroll (East Maui, Molokai, Lanai) passed away from cancer, Ige has nominated Maui rancher and farmer Lynn DeCoite to take her place. DeCoite owns L&R Farm Enterprises and R.J.’s Snacks and co-owns the V-8 Ranch on Molokai; she’s served as chair of the Farm Service Agency (Maui County) and president of the Molokai Homestead Farmer’s Alliance, and is a former board member of the Molokai Planning Commission.
“I’m confident Ms. DeCoite knows the issues facing the district and will listen to her constituents to address their concerns…She has deep roots in the community and is committed to overcoming the challenges by forming partnerships and working collaboratively,” Ige said in his press release about the nomination.
Carroll had resigned her House seat on February 1 due to her worsening medical condition. DeCoite was one of three names suggested to the governor by a Democratic Party committee to fill the vacant seat.
But the nomination has already drawn fire from the anti-GMO organization Babes Against Biotech.
“We have been aware for some time that L&R Farms, owned by Mrs. Decoite, is under contract with Monsanto to grow seed corn. Lynn herself confirmed this to our Maui Chapter Coordinator over an extensive phone conversation in March of last year; it is not something she is ashamed to admit,” pointed out a statement from Babes Against Biotech, which called her nomination “another political powder keg. This nomination would create an even larger firestorm of public criticism and discontent, than his highly contentious nomination of Carleton Ching to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources.”
Also yesterday, the Molokai News reported that Ige had nominated Glenn Hong, president of Hawaiian Tug & Barge Corp. and Young Brothers Ltd., to the state’s Board of Agriculture. A fair percentage of the cargo that Hong’s companies haul consists of meat, eggs and produce imported from California, Chile and elsewhere.