August 8, 2012

Maui News Election Special Edition


Angus L. McKelvey (Democrat)

Born: March 9, 1968; Honolulu
Residence: Lahaina
Elected offices held: State House of Representatives, 2006 to present
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Whittier College, 1991
Community involvement: Volunteer, LahainaTown Action Committee; former member Lahaina Rotary Club, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Ma'alaea Community Association
Family: Single

Most important issue:

While I believe there will be a multitude of important issues facing Maui County at the state Legislature next session, if I had to pick one it would be the transient accommodation tax. I am sure that despite $300 million surplus, which was achieved through a combination of austerity measures and suspending special interest exemptions, there will be those who will look to Maui’s share of the TAT as a way to fund pet projects or restore breaks or credits. I think it’s important to continue to educate people on how many partnerships with the state the county’s share of the TAT funds and that the funds also help us to market Maui, which has a positive impact on the visitor industry statewide.

Rejuvenate employment:

I think we need to look at expanding support for both the traditional pillars of the state’s economy, such as the visitor and construction industries, while continuing to aggressively develop the innovation economy initiatives that we started last year. I will continue to fight with the rest of the Maui team to maintain and increase spending for our visitor market, like we did with measures that expanded marketing and promotion efforts in Asia, and look at procurement and duplicative regulatory issues again so we can continue to bolster these important economic cornerstones. We need to continue to develop the new economy, where brainpower and not manufacturing muscle, drives the engine, while we support our traditional sectors.

It was in pursuit of that dream of finally developing well-paying, sustainable long-term jobs (and all the benefits they bring to traditional sectors) that we launched our innovation economy initiative last session. This initiative, which sought to incubate and attract investment in the related areas of aerospace, broadband, tech, film and digital media, resulted in the passage of several key measures, including one to assist startups specifically in these sectors in Hawaii. I am hopeful next session we can build on that foundation by looking at credit programs with proper checks and balances as well as other vehicles for investments and partnerships with both the private sector and other states like Alaska. Not only will this help also create new opportunities for the University of Hawaii Maui College and eventually, I believe, all our Maui schools.

Additionally, for every highly qualified position generated in these fields, about three jobs are created in the service industries a majority of which are small businesses, This will also help create employment opportunities and business creation in these areas as well and help to further strengthen our economy.

August 7, 2012

McKelvey's Accomplishments and Plans


Excerpted from The Maui News by Melissa Tanji 
Rep. Angus McKelvey

Democratic candidate for the 10th House District seat, Angus McKelvey, says that West Maui's main thoroughfare, Honoapiilani Highway, is in dire need of improvement.

McKelvey, the incumbent, who has held the House seat representing West Maui, Maalaea and north Kihei for the last six years, points to the already ongoing work on the highway and the emergency proclamation issued by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in June that is expediting repair work on the eroded highway near Launiupoko where a portion of the highway fell into the ocean a couple of months ago.

The 44-year-old Lahaina resident said that he and other Maui legislators have been able to secure necessary funding for short-term as well as long-term work on Honoapiilani Highway as well as for portions of the Lahaina bypass.

McKelvey said that six years ago, when he first ran for office, the bypass was "dead" and not proceeding forward but it has since been revived and construction is ongoing. He said he will continue the funding push for these infrastructure projects.

McKelvey said that he has developed relationships with the other Maui legislators as well as those from across the state during his time in office. "By growing up and living in Hawaii I have friends from all the islands."

McKelvey said that as an incumbent with seniority, he's positioned to make changes and push legislation through, as most of his colleagues will be returning to office. Some of those colleagues began their careers at the same time McKelvey did. He said that he has established relationships with others and they help one another's communities.

Some of the high-profile actions McKelvey participated in during the last legislative session involved urging the state administration to restore the missing boating and swimming safety buoys off West Maui beaches after a Lahaina diver was killed by a boat in waters off of Hanakaoo Beach Park in December.

McKelvey said he and state Sen. Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui, worked together to urge the administration to hurry up and get the buoys restored before another accident occurs.

He said that Maui legislators in the past had also pushed for the buoys to be restored, and were told by Department of Land and Natural Resources officials in the Linda Lingle administration that the buoys were on their way. But in the transition of administrations, the project apparently fell to the wayside.

McKelvey acknowledged that the buoys should not give people a false sense of security as the fatal accident could have occurred even if the buoys had been in place. But he added that legislators have also set in place long-term measures to keep people safe.

Earlier this year, Abercrombie signed into law a House bill sponsored by McKelvey requiring the state DLNR to establish a five-member advisory committee made up of various ocean enthusiasts in the community that will advise the department on its so-called West Maui Ocean Recreation Management Area.

McKelvey said that he and Baker teamed up to get funding for "modular buildings" to be installed starting this school year at Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nahienaena Elementary schools to assist the overburdened campuses.

McKelvey said that he is also pushing ahead to see if the state – or even private developers – will be ready to build a new elementary school in West Maui to handle its population growth.