Does not apply/Nonpartisan race
Maui County Councilmember, West Maui
Maui County Councilmember (2011-current); 30+ years in the visitor industry (Restaurants and hotels)
I have dedicated the entirety of my time in office actively serving as the community's voice in all policy-making decisions on the Council. My voting record indicates my unwavering commitment to representing our people over corporate interests. I am proud to have the longest record of any sitting council member that can say that without challenge. Over the years I have worked diligently on solutions for our housing shortage, aging infrastructure needs, traffic issues, visitor impact concerns and environmental preservation goals. I decided to run for Mayor because I am ready to implement these solutions but have been stifled by the current administration's representation of special interests. Its time for action and I am ready to start right away. I have always, and will continue to take guidance on all policy decisions directly from the Maui Island Plan and our Community Plans, Beach Management Plan, Water Use and Development Plan, Carrying Capacity Study, and other documents that are the result of thousands of hours of community and expert input and taxpayer investment.
Its really difficult to choose just three, because I seek to represent all residents of Maui nui. If, I narrow the concerns to the top three issues impacting everyone, I would say:
There is no one solution to the housing crisis. I will act swiftly to implement the following solutions:
The County of Maui currently uses HUD formulas to dictate what is affordable, and those numbers don’t work for our local residents. I will set Maui-appropriate affordability requirements that will reflect what our hard-working residents can pay for rent or mortgage.
Increase Density Allowances:
Under my administration, Planning Department will work with Council to amend zoning codes to allow cluster housing, urban infill, tiny homes and fourplexes where appropriate.
Construction on County-owned Land:
There is County-owned land in South, West & Central Maui that is perfectly suited for affordable housing. Under my administration, instead of waiting for for-profit developers to dictate what is possible, the Housing Department will set higher standards for workforce housing, and bid-out construction of homes and apartments on those lands, at prices that our local workforce can actually afford.
Bring Construction Costs Down by Streamlining Permitting Process, with solutions such as:
1. Creating a one-stop shop that allows permits to be approved in one place, and in many cases, one day.
2. Allowing for independent third-party plan review.
3. Creating a pre-approved catalogue of building plans
Strict enforcement of existing Short Term Rental laws: putting thousands of rentals back into the long term rental market for our workforce.
Expand recycled water (R1) distribution, and immediately phase out use of injection wells; Pesticide-free management of our County parks, roadways and public spaces; Expand the 3-can recycling plan: Appoint an Aha Moku Council liaison to my administration who will ensure that Moku representatives and lineal descendants are contacted and consulted in decision-making around land, water and other resource management.
Appoint a Tourism Coordinator who will work with Maui Visitors Bureau, our tourist industry, and the Hawaii Sustainable Tourism Association to ensure that we are better educating our visitors on how to be good guests, with a goal to ensuring that all of our tour operators are soon Certified in Sustainable Tourism by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association.
Housing, because I have a solid and multi-faceted plan to increase our inventory of affordable housing. This plan was created with and vetted by our development community and leading conservation groups on Maui. It will have far reaching results spanning several other detrimental community concerns, such as homelessness and cost of living challenges. You can see the founding document for my housing plan here: https://tinyurl.com/jl9ote7 and the rest of my housing plan at elle4mayor.com/platform
Quality of life is directly impacted by our housing crisis and an imbalance in tourism growth and resource management. Bold action to stabilize housing cost and availability, and to bring balance back to resource management and tourism is the most tangible thing I can do to improve the lives of our residents. When our residents don't have to worry about second and third jobs to make ends meet, or about their friends and family moving away because they just can't make it here anymore, our quality of life improves.
That will also allow them to become more engaged and participate in government and community. I work really hard to keep the public informed and educated about important issues that will impact their daily lives. Often, they want to participate in the conversation, but they are too busy to do so. I aim to make sure the public feels heard and respected; something that has been lacking in local government leadership for far too long.
I have never been one to shy away from challenges, and our County is facing big challenges right now. As a surfer, with no political experience at the time, I was able to organize our community to form the Save Honolua Coalition and we successfully protected Lipoa Point from development forever. I learned then that together, no challenge is too big, as long as you work with and for the community.
Since then, as a Council Member, I have continued to tackle the big challenges. My efforts to create lasting change within a body that lacks the political will to do so, have not always been successful, but I continue to do what I know is in the best interest of our residents and the environment. We have made progress, but so much more is possible. As Mayor, I will be able to implement the kind of change Maui County needs, immediately.
I will also focus on fundamental operational changes to the administration including:
Re-prioritize our budget to cut waste and focus on basic infrastructure needs so we can continue to build on a solid foundation
Fully fund positions for enforcement of things like CORA permits, short term rental regulations & beach access requirements.
Create a work environment where all of our county employees are empowered to use their boots-on-the ground experience to help our county thrive. I will maintain an open door policy for all county employees, and encourage ideas about how to operate more efficiently.