Categorized | Elections, News

Election 2014: Ige unveils action plan


Leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate State Sen. David Ige has released his action plan “Engineering Hawaii’s Future” for the state if elected the next governor of Hawaii.

Ige lays out his agenda on issues including tourism, technology, environment, energy, agriculture, homelessness and open government.

“I have waited until now to release my full action plan because I felt it was important to first hear directly from the people I’m asking to serve before making any proclamations,” Ige said. “I’ve spent the last year of this campaign traveling across Hawaii, from island to island, listening to citizens. I will be a governor who listens to the concerns of the people, brings stakeholders together for meaningful dialogue and develops innovative solutions to the major issues facing our state.”

One of the senator’s top priorities will be growing the state’s economy, and tourism is a cornerstone of that initiative. One aspect of his plan includes increasing domestic and international visitor travel to all islands by working toward creating another international entry point at Kona International Airport, relieving federal Customs Service congestion at Honolulu International Airport.

Ige will also work closely with Hawaii’s congressional delegation to improve the visa issuance process in China and customs and pre-clearance for visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

Recently named one of the country’s 13 tech-savviest legislators, Ige has been at the forefront of bringing innovative technological solutions to many issues over his nearly 30-year career in the Legislature.

As governor, he plans to implement state-of-the-art technology so state agencies can do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. He will make sure technology is not only implemented, but used to its full advantage, such as encouraging online tax filing.

The State Tax Department currently charges a fee to use its online service, which causes many people to file by mail, creating a backlog in processing, delays in investing tax revenue and unrealized interest revenue.

Preserving Hawaii’s fragile natural environment through responsible economic growth and planning is another key component in Ige’s plan.

He helped to enact the newly-created Pacific-Asia Institute for Resilience and Sustainability and will direct the organization to help mitigate risks from natural and man-made hazards and develop solutions for sustainable economic growth and adaptive plans for climate change.

To reduce Hawaii’s $6 billion a year dependency on imported oil, the senator will aggressively tackle goals set by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.

He will work with key stakeholders to address and overcome challenges, including modernizing the electrical grid, determining the proper mix of fuels at affordable cost and working with the counties to reduce fossil fuel use in ground transportation.

Like energy, Hawaii imports a majority of its food—around 90 percent. As governor, Ige will identify and preserve up to 200,000 acres of prime agricultural land to increase local food production.

Agriculture is critical to self-sufficiency and food security. He will also improve the monitoring of transported agricultural goods to prevent the introduction of invasive species.

Homelessness is another serious problem statewide with the number of people living on the streets rising 32 percent over the last five years.

Ige will collaborate and support the counties’ efforts to address homelessness. He also fully supports the Housing First initiative, which provides transitional and permanent supportive emergency housing.

In addition to housing, the program offers referral services for mental illness, addiction, job training and other social services.

Ige’s action plan ends with a very important principle that encompasses all of his other goals: open government.

He believes a democratic government requires active citizen participation. He believes in transparency and accountability by the government to the people they serve.

Some of the ways he will accomplish this is by holding weekly press conferences to make himself accessible to the media and ensuring that appointees to state boards and commissions are committed to conducting government affairs in an open manner that’s responsive to the public.

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