Gov. David Ige sent state senators a letter Thursday urging them to support Castle & Cooke lobbyist Carleton Ching to lead the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“I have nominated Carleton Ching to lead DLNR because he has the skills, experience, management style, desire and dedication to be an effective steward,” Ige wrote.
The Senate Committee on Water and Land plans to take up the controversial nomination March 11. After that, the full Senate will vote whether to confirm Ching.
Gov. David Ige fields questions during a press conference Feb. 12.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
One senator, Health Committee Chairman Josh Green, has already said publicly that he won’t vote for Ching. Green agrees with many environmental groups who fear that Ching, who has spent over 10 years working for a large developer, doesn’t have enough experience in natural resources conservation to lead the DLNR.
In his letter to senators, Ige said that his duty as governor involves ensuring the well-being of both the environment and the people who live here. “This is not an either-or proposition.”
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
He said one of the reasons he picked Ching was his ability to work with diverse groups of people and resolve conflicts fairly. He praised Ching’s commitment to the department’s mission and ability to manage multiple priorities.
Ige also sought to explain a previous comment that he made about liking Carleton’s “heart.”
“Carleton grew up here,” Ige said. “He’s raised his family here, and he agreed to be considered for this position one night after watching his moopuna (granddaughter) play a basketball game at Palama Settlement.”
He offered to meet with senators alone or with Ching, as well as have Ching meet with them separately.
Ching has already been meeting with lawmakers to discuss his credentials.
Ige delivered the letter to senators the same day he spoke to the press and reiterated his support for Ching.
He told reporters that he believes the DLNR is one of the state’s most important departments and that Ching has the executive experience and integrity to lead the agency.