"Democratic incumbents for State House, Nicole Lowen (District 6) and David Tarnas (District 7) are running unopposed in both the primary and the general election and will return to their seats." - BIVN
Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 8 Primary Election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from David Tarnas, Democratic candidate for state House District 7, which includes North Kona, North Kohala and South Kohala.
1. Hawaii has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps the biggest impact is to the economy and the tourism industry, which has been Hawaii’s biggest economic driver. Do you think state leaders have handled the response to the virus effectively, including the approach to testing and health care as well as the stay-at-home orders that have caused serious economic harm? What would you have done differently?
While the administration has done well, it is time to unveil the plan to reopen quarantine-free out-of-state travel. It is time to rebuild our economy to be more resilient and self-reliant by diversifying the industries that provide most of our jobs and the things we need for daily life. Our economy is too dependent on tourism, which makes us very vulnerable to disruptions outside our control. We can keep a quarantine for all out-of-state travelers, but with a model like Alaska to allow quarantine-free travel with testing.
If we can keep our virus levels very low, then we can market ourselves to the international and mainland traveler as the healthy and safe place to vacation. This will help us open up the tourism industry, hotels, and legal short term vacation rentals. As Hawaii lifts quarantine restrictions for trans-Pacific travelers, tourism will re-establish at a scale suitable to meet the demand, and able to accommodate physical distancing, hand hygiene, mask wearing, screening and sanitation of commonly touched surfaces.
Tourism will still be important to our Hawaii island economy, but not as dominant. That’s why we need to diversify our island’s economy, so we are not so dependent on tourism.
Name on ballot: David A. Tarnas
Running for: State House – District 7
Political party: Democratic Party of Hawai’i
Campaign website: www.votetarnas.com
Current occupation: State Representative / Environmental Planner
Previous job history: I am Principal Consultant at the Hawai’i-based environmental planning firm, Marine and Coastal Solutions International, with thirty-five years of professional experience as an environmental planner, project manager, group process facilitator, policy analyst, and government affairs and community relations advisor for private individuals, businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations. I also served two terms as State Representative from 1994-1998 and worked as the UH Sea Grant Extension Agent for West Hawai’i from 1990-1994.
Previous elected office, if any: 1994-1996, 1996-1998: State Representative, House District 6: North Kona-South Kohala.
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii. Through my decades of work as a planner and legislator, I have demonstrated that I have the skill set, temperament, patience, and courteous persistence to be an effective legislator and representative of our community. As a three-term legislator and professional environmental planner, I have the experience of working with local community stakeholders to identify concerns and opportunities; develop policies, plans and programs; and build consensus on priority solutions and implementation strategies. I have lived and worked in House District 7 (North & South Kohala, North Kona) for over 34 years so I know the people and places with our unique characteristics and challenges. In my professional planning career, I have gained relevant experience that strengthens my qualifications to continue serving effectively as State Representative. In my first two terms from 1994-1998, I served as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Education, and then as Chair of the House Committee on Ocean Recreation and Marine Resources. In my current term (2018-2020), I serve as member of the House Committee on Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs, the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, and the House Committee on Lower and Higher Education. Throughout my legislative career, I have led state policy development in marine and coastal resources management, ocean recreation, agriculture, forestry, watershed management, water resources and land use, endangered species, renewable energy production, education, health policy, and economic development. I am responsive to constituent requests for assistance and am grateful to be State Representative.
What will be your top priority if elected? My main priority is to serve the people of House District 7 with responsive constituent assistance. I will continue to advocate for priority public infrastructure projects at our public schools, parks, forest reserves, highways, harbors and airports. I will sponsor legislation to promote and support the environmental protection and sustainable economic development of Hawaii’s ocean resources for healthy oceans and coral reefs, clean water, abundant fishery resources, local aquaculture, and renewable energy.
If you own ag land in Hawai‘i and want to build a greenhouse or expand an existing one, you may soon have your chance.
A bill expanding the permitting exemption for greenhouse construction on agricultural land passed its third reading in the House of Representatives Tuesday.
HB 2192 HD1, introduced by Representative David Tarnas (North Kona, South Kohala, North Kohala), proposes to increase the maximum area, from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet, for each agricultural shade cloth structure, cold frame or greenhouse that is qualified for an exemption from building permit and building code requirements.
“This bill supports Hawai’i’s local food production and sustainability goals by making it easier for local farmers to build modern greenhouses without having to go through a lengthy and costly permitting process,” said Rep. Tarnas.
HB 2192 received public support from the Department of Agriculture, Hawai’i County Councilman Tim Richards, Hawai’i Farm Bureau, Ulupono Initiative, Hawai’i Farming LLC, Big Island Produce Asset Holdings LLC and Hawai’i Aquaculture & Aquaponics Association.
Testifiers in support of HB 2192 stated that the bill is necessary to support local producers to make farming more profitable and productive across Hawai’i.
“We believe that opening the door to new investments in agricultural infrastructure will directly support more local food production and an economically robust homegrown agriculture industry, which strengthens our community with fresh, healthy food,” said Amy Hennessey, Senior Vice President of Communications and External Affairs at Ulupono Initiative.
FARMERS ASK FOR FUNDING TO FIGHT PASTURE PEST THREATENING HAWAII’S THIRD LARGEST COMMODITY
"It's a major, it's an existential threat really that could cause significant damage for us. So we're very concerned about it," said David Tarnas, State Representative for the North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala districts.