Joe Pontanilla – Maui County Council, Kahului (Incumbent)
I think economy is the number one issue in this election. We always talk about the food chain, and the way I perceive business is a work force chain. Primary sources of employment such as tourism and construction drive Maui County, offering support to smaller businesses, and money keeps moving in a cycle.
On the County Council, we try to do our part by moving capitol improvement projects forward, such as the fire station on Molokai. Construction of fire station improvements and the new Parks facility will open up labor opportunities for Molokai residents.
Unemployment breeds social ills, so creating jobs is a top priority for me. We need to be aware of social services that will help residents address unemployment. In terms of employment opportunities, landfill improvements and road resurfacing are a couple examples of jobs that could be utilized on Molokai.
Budget cuts will have to occur but core services like police and fire get first priority. The County needs to look to its own budget, and then look to government inefficiencies and vacancies before cutting funding from other organizations. But Maui County provides more dollars than any other county in the nation.
What sets me apart in this election is my good understanding of what Molokai and Lanai needs and the issues the people are facing. I used to be manager for the phone company on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, and so I have a working knowledge of all three islands. It’s important to take into account Molokai and Lanai as well as Maui when examining budget needs and county plans. It’s also important for candidates to have an open door policy to be accessible to residents.
As you decide who to vote for this election, you should look at the candidate’s record and what they’ve done for the county. Another important aspect of this job is representing the entire district, and taking all three islands into account.