Interview by Wendy Osher; transcribed by Wendy Osher
INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.
My name is Edward Kaahui. I’m also called Eddie, which you’ll see on my campaign posters. I’m running for the 10th (House) District, which encompasses Lahaina and North Kihei. I have issues with what’s going on in the state Legislature and in my district–that is a concern that prompted me to run. I want you to look at my website so that you can have an insight into what my beliefs are, my views, and my goals. Mahalo.
Question 1: What is your number one priority for the West Maui Community in this upcoming term and how do you plan to implement action to accomplish this goal?
My goal is to complete the highway from Lahaina to Maalaea–that is all of our problems on the west side–probably in Central Maui and Kihei (as well), because people have to commute in both directions. So far, from the last meeting that the state had, was a termination at the Olowalu dump. My goal is to further that highway all the way over to Maalaea. The things that I would be doing is to push ahead with the changing zoning, and asking the contractor or the developer to see if they can do the highway themselves. That way, that would accelerate the completion of the highway, and also move on towards Ukumehame. After that, it’s going to cost a lot of money, so the Legislature would have to put in some.
Question 2: Do you believe in tax credits for the establishment of a film industry on Maui, and to what extent can the state Legislature help to facilitate that goal. Are there other options/opportunities for economic diversification that you can expound upon?
I believe in tax credits for the movie industry on Maui as well as O’ahu and other islands. The percentage of the tax credit has been an issue at the Legislature this past session, and there were some that proposed moving that up to about 30-35%, and others that came up with a 40%–and that probably killed the bill at that time. It’s going to come up after this election, and if I am elected, yes, I will support the tax credits for the movie industry because it creates jobs; and hopefully we will train our workers here to be competitive with the ones that they bring from the mainland so we can end up using our people to do the job instead of bringing other people in. Also, the production stages, or production units, they need funding. They should have a tax credit for that. As for economic diversification, I believe in helping out on the agriculture sector. We need to build self-sustaining communities and islands so that we don’t have to really depend on food coming in from the mainland. However, it is easier to produce oranges in California or Florida, then I suggest we use other agricultural products for our community. (Also), we should have tax breaks on interisland shipping as well as mainland shipping.
Question 3: There has been more than one death in Maui County waters involving nearshore boats with swimmers or divers. What is the Legislature doing to address the conflicting use of nearshore waters and ensure the safety of all involved?
We had about four ocean-related accidents on Maui so far. I see almost an unregulated ocean activity recreation programs–especially in the Ka’anapali, west side. Motorized boats are coming straight onto shore with kids swimming around in the area. There is no channel markers to designate where these boats can come in–they just come in anywhere along the shoreline. We should establish channel markers going out a certain distance. Then they can spread out and go whatever direction they need to go, but presently, there is not. I witness that (during) every canoe race in Lahaina, and (during) all the ocean activities that we have on the West side. The boats just come in, pick up their passengers, and go straight out with kids swimming around in the area. That should be regulated. That should be controlled. I also believe that some of the jet skis, or motorized activities should have more control or regulation to be sure for the safety of the people it is properly regulated by the drivers to see if they can perform what it takes to control a jet ski or motorized boat. If you are required to have a license for your car, then you should have some kind of training for operating that jet ski in the open ocean.
My name is Eddie Kaahui. I’m running for the House of Representatives, 10th District and I’m asking for your vote–all of you on Maui–even if you’re not in my district, support me. You can contact me at www.edkaahui.com, or email me at email@example.com. Mahalo. Thank you for your vote.