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.