Maui Senators React With Reserved Optimism

January 6, 2016, 4:10 PM HST · Updated October 18, 1:53 PM
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Senator J Kalani English. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Senator J Kalani English. File photo by Wendy Osher.

State senators who represent the County of Maui today reacted with reserved optimism for the future of agriculture following today’s announcement that Alexander & Baldwin Inc. will be transitioning out of sugar and pursue diversified agriculture.

“I want to thank A&B for their support in sustaining Maui’s agricultural industry for so many years,’ said Sen. J. Kalani English (Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).

Sen. English said he perceives one positive aspect to replacing sugar is that A&B can be inventive and move Hawai‘i towards greater food sustainability and provide more crops for local consumption.

“I’m hopeful that A&B will evolve into a successful diversified farm model,” said Sen. English.

Gil Keith-Agaran, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Gil Keith-Agaran, file photo by Wendy Osher.

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“I applaud A&B for bearing in mind the impact the transition will have on Maui’s community,” said Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului).​ “We will work diligently and closely with the governor’s departments, A&B and the union to provide our last sugar workers with assistance and training and finding alternative employment opportunities.”

“It’s the end of an era that had a profound impact on Maui’s history and countless Maui families,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui), who witnessed the difficult economic downturn in her district due to three previous closures of sugar and pineapple.

The senator expressed deep concern for the workers and how the transition will affect the Maui community.

Roz Baker, file photo courtesy Senate Communications.

Roz Baker, file photo courtesy Senate Communications.

“We will do what we can to ensure that the impact on residents and businesses will be minimal and look for opportunities in the transition to a new diversified agriculture model,” said Sen. Baker.

MAUI NOW STORY LINK
A&B/HC&S to Transition Out of Sugar Production

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