Gov. Neil Abercrombie has nominated the former head of the now-defunct Public Land Development Corporation to serve on the Agribusiness Development Corporation, a state board tasked with diversifying Hawaii’s farming industry.

Lloyd Haraguchi, a former asset manager for Hawaii Land Management, was one of five people the governor announced Wednesday as his picks to fill vacancies on state boards.

Also nominated to serve on the ADC are Denise Albano, president of a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating poverty and hunger; Margarita Hopkins, a retired Hawaii County economic development specialist; and Yukio Kitagawa, a former ADC member who now serves on Honolulu’s Agriculture Development Task Force.

Neil Abercrombie smiling

Gov. Neil Abercrombie discusses Hawaii during an interview in his office, May 28, 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The governor nominated Denise Antolini, a University of Hawaii law school faculty member who served as director of the Environmental Law Program, to the Commission on Water Resource Management.

The Senate has to confirm the five appointments.

Hariguchi served as executive director of the short-lived PLDC before it was repealed in 2013 amid a surge of public backlash over lack of transparency and accountability.

“Each appointee is well respected in their fields,” Abercrombie said in a news release. “Their knowledge and experience will be invaluable in moving these boards and commissions forward.”

Four members of the Agribusiness Development Corporation quit this year after the Legislature unanimously passed a bill, which Abercrombie let become law without his signature, that added that board and 14 others to the list of those whose members must publicly disclose their financial interests.

Abercrombie and other critics had said the new disclosure requirement — which the governor, state lawmakers and many other state employees have long been subject to — would deter qualified people from applying to serve on some of the most important decision-making bodies in the state.

More than two dozen members across nine boards quit just before the law took effect this summer, preventing some boards, like the Land Use Commission, from being able to meet for lack of quorum.

But since then, Abercrombie has slowly but steadily announced his nominations of people to fill their seats, many of whom are well respected in the community and bring a wealth of experience.

Read more about the appointments here. Read past Civil Beat coverage of the financial disclosure law here.

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