THE 2012 PRIMARY ELECTIONExcerpted 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.