Who did Governor Ige appoint to the State Board of Lands and Natural Resources?


February 17, 2022, 11:33 a.m. HST

For the Hawaii State Lands and Resources Board, Governor David Ige appointed five people. Top row (LR): Aimee Keliʻi Barnes, Riley Smith and Doreen Canto. Bottom row (LR): Karen Ono and Wesley “Kaiwi” Yoon

Governor David Ige named an active Maui volunteer, an Island of Hawai’i engineer, a Kauaʻi real estate leader, a cultural museum vice president and a climate change small business owner to serve on the state board of lands and natural resources. All five appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

The nominees:

  • Doreen Canto: Represents Maui on the Land Board on an interim basis since January 2021. A native of Hawaii, she has served on numerous advisory boards for community organizations and governments. She served as Maui Commissioner for the Hawaiian Homelands Commission from 2014 to 2017 and served as Chair of the Maui Police Commission from 2005 to 2010. Canto is a graduate of Baldwin High School and holds an associate degree from the University of Phoenix. She works at Maui Grown Therapies.
  • Wesley “Kaiwi” Yoon: He has served on the Land Board since 2019 and is appointed for a second term, as general representative. His current term ends June 30, 2022. Yoon serves as Vice President of Operations, Planning and Project Management at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Previously, he worked at the Department of Lands and Natural Resources from 2015 to 2018 and served two terms with the Legacy Land Conservation Commission from 2007 to 2014. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  • Aimee Keli’i Barnes: She has represented the City and County of Honolulu on the Land Board on an interim basis since January 2022. She is a director of Hua Nani Partners, a small woman-owned consulting firm that provides policy and strategic advice to nonprofit organizations and philanthropic. organizations, focused on climate change. She has worked on environmental issues for 20 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Columbia University.
  • Karen Ono: She was the association’s longtime executive for the Kaua’i Board of REALTORS until last year, serving as the organization’s chief executive from 1979 to 2021. She served as a committee member of government affairs for the association from 2018 to 2021 and served as a representative for the Chamber of Commerce, the Kaua’i Business Council and the Rice Street Business Association. She holds an associate degree from Kaua’i Community College.
  • Riley Smith: He has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Lanihau Properties, LLC since January 2013 and has held executive positions with the company since 2009. Previously, he led the construction of the undersea fiber optic network that connects the five main Hawaiian Islands. He has a long professional experience dating back to 1976 and has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Na Ala Hele Advisory Council. Smith is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Hawaii.

“These five individuals have demonstrated leadership and performance in a variety of areas and contexts,” Governor Ige said. “Most importantly, they each have absolute love and respect for Hawai’i’s natural and cultural uniqueness.”

The Lands and Natural Resources Board has seven members: one from each district and two general members. The chairman of the council is also the chief executive of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources. The council meets twice a month to act on ministerial submissions, including land leases and conservation district applications.


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