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Committee Corner: Economic Development Committee Advocates for Major Initiatives That Support the Economy of West Hawai'i

Sunday, 08 October 2017 Posted in October 2017

20170919 Economic Development CommitteeThe Economic Development Committee is co-chaired by Rick Gaffney and Ross Wilson Jr. They lead a large group of committee members: Dennis Boyd, Jane Clement, Porter DeVries, Stephanie Donoho, Matt Grauso, Jacqui Hoover, Jen Johansen, Keller Laros, Teri Leicher, Mark Leong, Hobbs Lowson, Jonathan Mitchell, Adam Reugh, Sharon Sakai, Barry Sheehan, Rick Vidgen and Mason Yoshiyama. 

The Economic Development Committee meets monthly on the third Tuesday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Recent guest presentations to the committee included Queen Liliuokalani Trust, County Department of Research & Development, West Hawaii Community Health Center and HELCO.

The mission of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) is to create a beneficial economic environment for the West Hawai‘i business community. 

Important EDC and Chamber member initiatives include agriculture, astronomy, clean energy, film, general business legislation, Hawai‘i Community College- Palamanui, healthcare, homeless, Kona International Airport, NELHA, ocean recreation tourism, Pohakuloa Training Area, roads and infrastructure, Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) and water. 

While all these initiatives are vital to West Hawai‘i’s economic health, supporting higher education opportunities at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui, expansion and modernization of Kona International Airport, support of NELHA, Pohakuloa Training Area and astronomy on Maunakea continue to be high priorities. The committee has also spent a fair amount of time discussing the positive economic impacts of the ocean recreation tourism industry.  

“The success of the Chamber’s early initiatives nearly 50 years ago continue to be felt today,” said Wilson. The Chamber’s early initiatives included working with state and county governments to expand visitor industry infrastructure.

"Hopefully, at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary, folks will look back at the work we’re doing and see the same kinds of positive impacts on the community,” added Gaffney.

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  • Posted in: October 2017