2023 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 in the region, 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 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.
2023 Position Statements
The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce works to enhance the quality of life for our community through a strong, sustainable economy on Hawaiʻi Island. The purpose of this comprehensive list is to streamline our annual advocacy efforts with pre-approved positions.
(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 for Hawaiʻi agriculture and aquaculture.
- 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.
- Support a smooth management transition from University of Hawaiʻi to the new Mauna Kea Stewardship & Oversight Authority.
- 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 and workforce development.
- Support the University Center, West Hawai‘i in providing expanded access to higher education for the community.
- Support and promote University of Hawai‘i Hilo in West Hawai‘i that includes research opportunities.
- 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 including the visitor industry, agriculture, aquaculture, astronomy, aviation, business, education, healthcare, marine and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & math) endeavors.
- 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 programs that reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Support improvements to Hawai‘i Island’s waste management system.
- Recognize climate change impacts and support measures addressing this issue.
- Support initiatives that promote clean coastlines, coral reef health and ocean conservation.
- 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.
- Support initiatives that address and manage invasive species.
- Support initiatives that encourage indigenous re-forestation.
- Support improvements and expansion for Hawai‘i County’s mass transit system.
- Support improvements and efficiency to Hawai‘i County’s permitting, planning and regulatory processes.
- Support improvements in permitting, regulation and enforcement of Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVR) on Hawai‘i Island.
- Support oversight of government processes including accountability, efficiency, transparency, and fund collection and distribution.
- Examine minimum wage legislation in the State of Hawai‘i to determine the impact on businesses, especially the small business community.
- Support pro-business initiatives.
- Challenge increased taxes on business.
- Support the planning, design and construction of a new State office building in West Hawai‘i to provide better government services, accessibility and jobs.
- 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 of Hawai‘i’s State Parks and Trail Systems.
- Support federal, state and county programs that provide immediate relief to homeless.
- 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 Kona Community Hospital improvements and initiatives.
- Advocate for a new hospital in North Kona.
- Support a consistent and effective approach to medical crises such as COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
- Support increased prevention and stabilization services for substance abuse.
- Support increased behavioral health treatment and recovery in West Hawaiʻi.
- Promote health, wellness and behavioral health initiatives for businesses and the community.
- Support housing projects at all inventory levels and associated infrastructure.
- Support innovative housing methodologies.
- Support re-zoning of agricultural land that is not suited for that use to more useful purposes.
- Support increased broadband infrastructure development for Hawai‘i Island.
- Support improvements to increase efficiency and capacity 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 building all phases of Kukuiola Emergency Shelter in West Hawaiʻi.
- Encourage walk and bicycle paths for all roads.
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.
- Recognize that West Hawai‘i’s 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 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.
- Encourage streamlining government regulation to provide predictability for development.
- Monitor DLNR and 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 22, 2022