2024 PRIORITIESLocated on Hawaiʻi Island, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce brings the business community together to address key issues in our community, on our island and in our state. Established in 1968, our Chamber’s mission is to provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi. We believe the following priorities will improve business opportunity, strengthen our local economy and promote the well-being of our community.
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce supports housing projects at all inventory levels in West Hawaiʻi. This includes the development of infrastructure to support more housing along with an emphasis on improvements and clarity in Hawai‘i County’s permitting processes.
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce strongly supports fresh water resource development, maintenance and protection in West Hawaiʻi. We encourage streamlining government regulation to provide predictability for development. Additionally, we support wastewater development, reclamation and recycling in West Hawaiʻi.
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce supports culture, science, education and environmental stewardship on Maunakea. We strongly support the astronomy industry on Maunakea noting significant scientific discovery, global leadership, educational outreach, workforce pipelines, jobs and economic impact.
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce supports homelessness initiatives, including shelter and transitional housing along with substance use disorder and behavior health support.
2024 Position Statements
In addition to our priorities, we draft a comprehensive list of position statements for the purpose of being prepared. This pre-approved list helps immensely in our advocacy efforts that include delivering testimony, meeting with government officials and drafting letters of support or opposition.
Position Statements and our selection of Priorities are generated through a process that includes committee input and board approval.
Click here for more information about our BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Click here for more information about COMMITTEES.
(Alphabetical order by category)
AGRICULTURE & AQUACULTURE
- Support initiatives that promote, protect and provide for the local agriculture industry.
- Support West Hawaiʻi’s aquaculture industry that includes algae and fish production.
- Support financing opportunities for agriculture and aquaculture.
- Support federal designations to create more opportunities.
- Support ‘Buy Local’ and other initiatives that boost local agriculture businesses.
- Support Kona coffee, cattle and other diversified agriculture in West Hawaiʻi.
- Support programs for disease and pest prevention for farmers.
ASTRONOMY & MAUNAKEA
- Support culture, science, education and environmental stewardship on Maunakea.
- Support the astronomy industry on Maunakea noting significant scientific discovery, global leadership, educational outreach, workforce pipelines, jobs and economic impact.
- Advocate for successful management of Maunakea.
- Support the State of Hawaiʻi lease renewal and observatory lease renewals on Maunakea.
- Support the development and future operations of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
- Support the Rule of Law to keep Mauna Kea Access Road open and allow access.
- Support a concept of sharing Maunakea for all.
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE
- Support growth of Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui campus programs.
- Support the University Center, located at the Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui, in providing expanded access to four-year and graduate degree programs.
- Support and promote research and collaborative opportunities with University of Hawai‘i Hilo in West Hawai‘i.
- Support the Department of Education (DOE) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) and their relationship to local businesses and workforce development.
- Support educational programs that feed directly into the region’s key industries.
- Support educational initiatives that promote workforce skills.
- Support workforce development, training, mentoring and internship programs.
- Support increased and expanded childcare programs and services for West Hawai‘i.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
- Support energy efficiency measures.
- Support renewable, reliable and affordable energy solutions including geothermal.
- Support the State of Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy goals - 100% clean energy by 2045.
- Recognize climate change impacts and support measures addressing this issue.
- Support expansion of electric transportation - stations and vehicles.
- Support improvements and expansion for Hawai‘i County’s mass transit system.
- Support improvements to Hawai‘i Island’s waste management system.
- Support programs that reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Support initiatives that address and manage invasive species.
- Support initiatives that encourage indigenous re-forestation.
- Support initiatives that promote clean coastlines, coral reef health and ocean conservation.
- Encourage streamlining government regulation to provide predictability for development.
- Support oversight of government processes including accountability, efficiency, transparency, and fund collection and disbursement.
- Challenge increased taxes on business.
- Examine minimum wage legislation in the State of Hawai‘i to determine the impact on businesses, especially the small business community.
- Monitor Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in regards to Honokōhau and Kawaihae Harbors and marine life site management in West Hawaiʻi.
- Support a state requirement for commercial marine tour guides to be trained as lifeguards or equivalent to increase passenger safety.
- Support improvements to State Parks and Trail Systems.
- Support the U.S. military’s training mission and land retention at Pōhakuloa Training Area.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
- Support increased and expanded health care services for West Hawai‘i.
- Encourage programs and incentives to attract more providers and collaborate with community entities.
- Support fee schedules and reimbursement rates commensurate with the state's cost of living and healthcare needs.
- Support Kona Community Hospital improvements and initiatives.
- Advocate for a new hospital in North Kona.
- Support a consistent and effective approach to public health crises.
- Support increased prevention and stabilization services for substance use disorder, behavioral health and recovery in West Hawaiʻi.
- Support improvements in long term care services and facilities.
- Support healthcare industry workforce development initiatives.
- Support homelessness initiatives, including shelter and transitional housing with substance use disorder and behavior health support.
- Solicit federal, state, county and community support that provide relief to homelessness.
- Support building all phases of Kukuiola Emergency Shelter in West Hawaiʻi, concentrating services in one place.
- Advocate for sunsetting The Friendly Place Resource Center, located on Pawai Place in Kailua Village, at the appropriate time.
- Support housing projects at all inventory levels and associated infrastructure.
- Support improvements and efficiency to Hawai‘i County’s permitting, planning and regulatory processes.
- Advocate for administrative rules in county departments related to housing and permitting.
- Support improvements in permitting, regulation and enforcement of Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVR) on Hawai‘i Island.
- Support innovative housing methodologies.
- Support hardening infrastructure to prevent fires or other hazards.
- Support redesignation of agricultural land where applicable and appropriate.
- Support digital equity and increased broadband infrastructure development.
- Support improvements of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
- Support the Saddle Road Extension to Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.
- Support funding and improvements for Honokōhau and Kawaihae Harbors.
- Finish the last section of the Ane Keohokālole Highway from Hina Lani to Kaiminani.
- Support walk and bicycle paths for all roads.
- Support growth of Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui facilities and campus.
- Support the growth of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority facilities.
- Support the planning, design and construction of a new State office building in West Hawai‘i to provide better government services, accessibility and jobs.
INNOVATION & ECONOMIC DIVERSITY
- Support initiatives and policies that promote business innovation and economic diversity.
- Encourage entrepreneurial endeavors and small business development.
- Support growth of Hawai‘i’s technology industry to foster innovation, diversify the island’s economy and provide quality, high paying jobs.
- Support the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA) that promotes innovative business development and provides unique resources for existing businesses in its Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology Park.
- Support and recognize that the visitor industry was created to diversify the economy and currently fosters large and small businesses development along with local entrepreneurship in West Hawai‘i.
- Recognize and support innovation and economic impact of the arts and creative industries.
- Support the visitor industry.
- Recognize that West Hawai‘i’s visitor industry drives the local economy through large and small business opportunity, jobs, capital investment and taxes.
- Evaluate proposed user fees for visitors.
- Support Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) and the implementation and promotion of Hawai‘i Island’s Destination Management Action Plan.
- Promote Hawai‘i Island’s Pono Pledge.
- Support fresh water resource development, preservation, maintenance and protection in West Hawaiʻi.
- Monitor the Commission on Water Resource Management in regards to well development in West Hawai‘i.
- Support more access to water for irrigation and agriculture.
- Support wastewater development, reclamation and recycling in West Hawaiʻi.
Board Approved November 29, 2023