Growing a Sustainable Economy


Immediate job growth to build for the future

Since taking office, we released over $425 million for capital improvement projects all across the state, focusing on school and public facility repairs. These projects are contributing to Hawai’i having the nation’s second highest rate of growth in construction jobs over the last year. The departments of Accounting and Government Services, Transportation, Education, and the University of Hawaii are taking the lead in making sure Hawaii benefits from this economic boost.

Key Next Steps:

  • Launch and track high priority projects to create jobs and focus on New Day priorities like energy efficiency, irrigation systems, public facilities and education
  • Establish project labor agreements to support construction projects that will create good local jobs and that will be completed with the highest standards
  • Address the backlog of repairs in schools, the university system, public buildings, public housing and public transportation facilities


Our most important economic enterprise

The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism has been the catalyst for creating energy efficiency measures, supporting renewable energy development, and implementing progressive policies that lead to more jobs in our clean energy sector and investments in Hawai’i’s economy. DBEDT is currently monitoring the development of 64 clean energy projects. We also opened the nation’s first Platinum LEED certified community on Hawaiian Home Lands in Wai’anae; finished a photovoltaic system on the Kalanimoku Building; opened the first public electric vehicle charging station with many more to come; and passed legislation to open up more land for photovoltaic installations.

Key Next Steps:

  • Continue building capacity in the Public Utilities Commission and eliminate outdated regulatory functions to turn it into a clean energy driver
  • Host the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo
  • Advance the development of an interisland cable system to connect the islands and fully utilize our renewable resources in a way where the negative impacts are mitigated and the benefits are shared
  • Complete the Energy Savings Performance Contracting project, which will reduce total energy consumption for 10 office buildings in the downtown State Capitol District by 30 percent—enough to power more than 10,000 homes
  • Take steps to make it easier for low- to moderate-income homeowners and renters to purchase renewable energy systems and energy efficient appliances


An agricultural renaissance in Hawai’i

The Department of Agriculture will lead the state’s food security efforts, expanding its reach to coordinate food production and marketing and demand through our public schools, prisons and healthcare facilities. The Agriculture Department restored vital agricultural inspector positions to protect our environment from invasive species, stepped up efforts to help local farmers protect crops, and formed partnerships with private farmers and UH to double local food production in Hawai’i. As a part of its food sustainability program, the Department of Public Safety added an aquaponics system in the Waiawa Correctional Facility in July that includes fish and vegetables.

Key Next Steps:

  • Build support for food security efforts and take a more visible role in statewide coordination
  • Activate the Agricultural Development Corporation to make it an effective catalyst for entrepreneurial farming
  • Facilitate “Buy Local” efforts and advancement of food sustainability in prisons and schools
  • Provide a comprehensive report on state lands with available water resources for agriculture and livestock


New infrastructure, new jobs

The University of Hawai’i is leading the rebirth of statewide efforts to fuel an innovation economy.  It recently joined 28 other campuses in launching the Gig U project to bring ultra high-speed Internet to the campuses, which will transform education and research in ways that we have only begun to imagine. We also enacted Act 151 to advance the wider establishment of broadband capabilities, which will be the infrastructure on which public schools and innovation companies can thrive in Hawai’i. The Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation also obtained a $13 million federal grant to invest in local startups.

Key Next Steps:

  • Use initial federal investment to implement a new broadband initiative with public and private partners to bring ultra high-speed Internet to the entire state
  • Advance research innovation and commercialization of technologies through partnerships with UH taking the lead


Moving on smart growth

The new Public Lands Development Corporation (Act 55) will provide tremendous opportunities for private and public sectors to improve public lands, conserve natural resources, build workforce housing, restore recreational areas, and provide tangible examples of smart growth. Plans are being put into place to ensure careful stewardship of our land as well as economical projects with high social value. Public and private partnerships are also advancing to improve public housing, build communities with Hawaiian Home Lands, and develop housing for the elderly.

Key Next Steps:

  • Present the public with an initial set of high value projects envisioned by the Public Lands Development Corporation
  • Coordinate development efforts among the Hawai’i Housing and Finance Development Corporation, Hawai’i Community Development Authority, Hawai’i Public Housing Authority and others and outreach with our private partners to ensure common principles and best use of scarce public resources


The key to sustainable economic growth

The Department of Agriculture has been effectively identifying invasive species and is restoring key agricultural inspection positions. The Department of Land and Natural Resources established unprecedented partnerships to protect near-shore fisheries and restore our forests.

Key Next Steps:

  • Convene an environmental working group to monitor progress and help direct the Administration’s natural resources agenda, including the Departments of Health, DLNR, DOA, DBEDT, Office of Environment and Quality Control, Office of Planning, and UH
  • Ensure that our mauka watersheds are fully functioning so that our fresh water resources can be utilized and enjoyed by the people of Hawai’i in perpetuity


Supporting the visitor industry by investing in Hawai’i

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority is committed to investing in the people of Hawai’i, our islands and our culture as the key to a vibrant visitor industry. Working together, we are strengthening relationships with China, Korea, Japan and Australia. We’ve also garnered increasing support for the local film, television, digital media, music and fashion industries, while supporting culture and arts as part of Hawai’i’s attraction as a world-class destination.

Key Next Steps:

  • Reposition the various culture and arts programs of the state and provide additional institutional funding
  • Increase support for the preservation and perpetuation of Hawai’i’s Native Hawaiian culture and arts
  • Connect creative communities, locally and globally with digital media projects
  • Continue strengthening relationships with China and other countries as we head toward the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November