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By Land And Space: How GOP Candidates For Governor Plan To Diversify Hawaii’s Economy


More funding for agricultural initiatives and government support to help new industries top the list of economic proposals from the leading Republican candidates for governor.

Hawaii has been dependent on tourism since the fall of large-scale ag operations, particularly sugar, beginning in the late 1990s. Economic diversification has been a talking point in nearly every election since then.

But the coronavirus pandemic’s brief shuttering of the tourism industry in 2020 brought new focus on the need to support the local economy through industries other than tourism. Finding ways to help farmers grow more food locally is a top concern for GOP candidates for governor. Civil Beat asked the top Republican gubernatorial candidates running in the party’s Aug. 13 primary how they would diversify Hawaii’s economy. Here are some of their proposals:

Heidi Tsuneyoshi wants the government to kick in more state funds to bring back the dairy industry and increase access to slaughterhouses so that Hawaii can process more of its locally grown meat.

Gary Cordery would sell government lands to farmers and divert tax dollars generated by tourism to support ag industries.

Meanwhile, Duke Aiona wants to attract investments in aerospace by finally opening a spaceport in Hawaii, an idea that’s been around […]

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