His plan is about “good jobs, greater financial security, economic opportunity and long-term sustainability,” he stated. “It’s about the Hawai‘i that is always talked about, but has never been realized because it takes collaboration, political courage and leadership that has been lacking.”
We simply cannot afford economics-as-usual in Hawai‘i any longer, he said.
Among his many ideas to revive the state, Neil plans to improve tourism, and increase our food and energy self-reliance while protecting our resources.
He plans to overhaul our outdated regulatory system by creating a Hawai‘i Energy Authority that will put clean energy projects on a fast track and keep billions of dollars in our own economy while creating green local jobs.
He emphasized the importance of food security. “Just a 10 percent increase in the amount of food we produce for ourselves could mean keeping $300 million in the local economy,” he stated. He aims to protect important agricultural land, rebuild the irrigation infrastructure, improve agricultural education and build markets for locally grown food to keep our money circulating in our economy.
Neil also intends to advance sustainable tourism and development. Hawai‘i’s visitor and hospitality industry will remain critical to our economic future—if done well, he said. “But we cannot keep pouring money into marketing Hawai‘i while neglecting to make improvements to the ‘product.’”
He said we need to repair decrepit public facilities, design and build greener buildings, invest in vibrant culture and arts, and restore our natural environment, which will create economic benefits that ripple through the economy.
Neil stressed that Hawai‘i’s economy is not a business enterprise for a few executives in power to oversee. “Hawai‘i’s economy is about you, your family, your job, your ability to pay the rent and utilities, put food on the table, save for retirement, put your kids in college, and take good care of your aging parents,” he said. The economy is measured by the status of your small business, “whether you can buy your own house, start your business, and imagine your children making a future for themselves in Hawai‘i.”
By these measures, you don’t need any statistics to tell you that the economy of Hawai‘i can do much better, Neil added.
“In 2010, the choice is clear,” said Rep. Ambercrombie. “We can rebuild our economy around the interests of Hawai‘i’s middle class, or we can reelect Hawai‘i’s economic status quo.”