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Six interested in former state Sen. English’s seat

The Democratic Party of Hawaii received six applications by its deadline late Thursday night from interested members to fill the seat of recently retired state Sen. J. Kalani English.

They are:

• Leo Caires of Maui, a community leader, agricultural business owner, and renewable energy executive.

•Lynn DeCoite of Molokai, the current representative for House District 13 and a small business owner, farmer and rancher.

• Riki Hokama of Lanai, a delegate to the 1978 Constitutional Convention and longtime Maui County Council member who served as budget chairman and council chairman.

• Timothy Lara of Lanai, a leader in sustainable tourism, nonprofit board member, and former Maui County Democratic Party chairman.

• Walter Ritte of Molokai, a former high school teacher, coach, OHA Trustee, and longtime community leader and advocate.

• Yuki Lei Sugimura of Maui, the current Maui County Council member for Upcountry who also previously served as the vice chairwoman of the Maui County Democratic Party.

The Senate District 7 seat, which English held, represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.

The approximately 60 officers of the Democratic Party’s Precinct Clubs and House District Councils within Senate District 7 will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday on Zoom to interview the applicants and vote on the three names which will be sent to Gov. David Ige. By law, Ige has until June 30 to pick a replacement to fill the remainder of English’s term, with the next election for the seat in 2022.

At the meeting, each eligible officer will be permitted to vote for up to three different candidates.

Participation and discussion in the Saturday morning Zoom meeting will be limited to the eligible precinct officers.

But the meeting will be live streamed on the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s Facebook page.

For more on this story see Saturday’s edition of The Maui News.

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