The 2022 legislative session mandated an economic impact study of the 10% blend law on Kona and other Hawaiian coffee farmers. Will you support the prompt completion of that study and a thorough airing of its contents? Will you support reform of Hawaii’s 10% blend law? And what will you pledge to do to support the change?
As Lt. Governor, I will support the completion of this and any study that will give policymakers the ability to put forward solid policies for the strength and health of Kona Coffee and any other agricultural product that is made in Hawai‘i. Once the study is done and made public, my office will look at the findings and determine the best course of action to promote or support any reform that would be meaningful to the Kona Coffee industry.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has said repeatedly over the last number of years that its budget has been cut so drastically that it cannot perform the various tasks assigned to it by the Legislature. The HDOA’s share of the State’s annual budget is less than one-half of one percent (<.005). To strengthen support for Hawaii farmers, will you support measures to significantly increase funding for the HDOA?
Every department in the state is asked to put forward a budget to the executive for inclusion into the next year’s biennial budget or supplemental budget. The department will need to put forward what its needs are and justifications for the executive to support when it comes to its requests. The Department of Agriculture oversees a very important part of Hawai‘i and should it require more funds to better execute its tasks, I as Lt. Governor will support it.
Please close by telling us a bit more about yourself and your commitment to agriculture. Mahalo!
During my service in the City Council, I was a strong proponent of preserving agriculture and agricultural lands for that specific purpose. In the district that I served, Waimānalo, there were a number of landowners who used their lands for other-than-agricultural use. To address this, I introduced in 2018, Resolution 18-82, which wouldn’t permit new uses other than agricultural within the Waimānalo district on O‘ahu. That measure would have covered over 300 parcels. These parcels were to be used for the express purpose of agricultural development and would have contributed to the re-growth of the industry in that area.