Top priorities for the Green administration

Today, Hawaii faces a number of historic challenges we must meet in the next several years. By 2026, a Green administration will make significant progress on these critical issues:

Affordable housing. Cost of living. Homelessness. Protecting our environment. Rethinking tourism. Native Hawaiian concerns.

The first and most pressing challenge we face is our housing crisis.

Over the next four years, we will build more than 10,000 new units of affordable housing in Hawaii — but building alone will not solve our housing crisis.

By 2026, my administration will shut down more than 10,000 illegal vacation rentals and seek to make nonresident investment properties more expensive, so we can return needed housing to Hawaii residents and lower prices by increasing supply.

We will also address the overall cost of living in our state by eliminating taxes on food, medicine and other essentials to help make Hawaii more affordable for residents.

We will work toward ending chronic homelessness in our state, and by 2026 we will reduce the homeless population by more than 50% by building more kauhale communities — villages of tiny houses that provide shelter while restoring a sense of security, community and dignity.

From Day One, my administration will take climate change seriously and lead the nation with the highest efficiency and emissions standards to speed the adoption of zero-emission vehicles statewide.

Over the next four years, we will implement the most ambitious plan in the nation to transition to clean energy, including executing HECO’s plan to decarbonize our power grid, finishing the solar farms to replace Hawaii’s last coal-fired power plant, and completing the plan to build a statewide electric vehicle charging network.

I will fight to protect Hawaii’s clean water, and my administration will immediately press the U.S. Navy to drain the fuel tanks at Red Hill as quickly and safely as possible, shut the facility down for good, and make sure that leaks and spills of any toxic substances never again threaten the health and safety of our people or our environment.

Today, there is a growing consensus in Hawaii that 10 million tourists a year is too many.

As governor, I will propose a $50 impact fee for visitors that would generate up to $350 million in annual revenue to invest in protecting our environment, addressing climate change and building affordable housing, while reducing the total number of tourists.

My administration also will address the disparities in housing, health care, incarceration and homelessness affecting the Native Hawaiian people, which are rooted in historic injustices and inequities that go back generations.

Today, the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has more than 28,000 Native Hawaiians on its rolls while holding more than 200,000 acres of unused land.

As governor, I will direct DHHL to deliver land to Native Hawaiian beneficiaries for homesteading and to work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to build housing for Native Hawaiians with the goal of cutting the rolls of those waiting for land in half by 2026.

Native Hawaiians now experience chronic disease 10 years earlier than others in our state, die eight years sooner, and are twice as likely to become homeless, and my administration will work to cut these disparities in half over the next decade.

These policy initiatives will work together over the next four years to make Hawaii more affordable for residents, preserve our quality of life, and protect our natural and cultural heritage.

But in a larger sense, above all the challenges we now face and the policy solutions they require, I believe the people of Hawaii have two great responsibilities we must meet as we move forward as a state.

We must become true caretakers of these islands and preserve our unique natural environment, values and way of life in Hawaii, while at the same time welcoming visitors from around the world with aloha.

We must also as a state acknowledge, address and remedy the historic inequities and injustices still affecting the Native Hawaiian people today.

My goal as Hawaii’s next governor will be to strengthen our bonds of affection, to unite the people of Hawaii as one ohana, and lead us forward to fulfill our commitments to each other, to our islands, and to future generations.