For the first time in its history, the Hawaii ChamberPAC for a Stronger and Healthier Economy, the political action committee of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, announced the endorsement of 16 candidates in state and county races.

The Hawaii ChamberPAC selection process, race selection and subsequent endorsements were determined by a committee of business leaders. Criteria for endorsed candidates included those who were running in a competitive general election race and those who returned ChamberPAC questionnaires.

“COVID-19 has made it clear that Hawaii needs strong leadership and policy makers who understand that supporting local businesses is essential to the future of our state. We appreciate all candidates who participated in our endorsement process and shared their views on how to rebuild our economy. These 16 candidates, who were selected because they are running in competitive races, committed to standing behind Hawaii’s local businesses as we continue to navigate uncertainty. I urge all Hawaii residents who love and support local businesses to vote for these leaders to move Hawaii forward.”

Sherry Menor-McNamara

President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

“Every day, elected officials make decisions that impact the future of my business and all of Hawaii’s local businesses. The Hawaii ChamberPAC is endorsing these 16 candidates because of their commitment to Hawaii’s business community—which is more important now than ever. Local businesses will face more difficult decisions in the months ahead, but working side-by-side with these candidates, we can save Hawaii businesses.”

Jason Higa

Chair, Candidate Endorsement Process

Hawaii State Senate Endorsements

“Government leaders and workers need to understand the reality that many of our businesses – on Maui mainly small businesses by any measure—face in terms of maintaining profitability. Businesses need clarity on standards for re-opening and operating without further government-ordered shutdowns and disruptions. Diversification can’t just be a buzzword and chasing the next big thing. Economic development must include building on our existing businesses, promoting self-sufficiency and resilience.”

“Our first priority will be to continue identifying those businesses in my district that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they are aware of those resources available from the county, state, and federal levels of government. It is difficult to navigate many of those programs already readily available, and our office has helped many businesses access them.”

“This is the time to put ‘rainy-day’ funds to work to provide whatever assistance can be given businesses and households across the Islands.”

“Being 1 of 6 Senators on the COVID-19 special committee, we as legislators are working on providing transparency and building trust in our leadership in our government.”

“As Ways & Means chair, I will continue to push for legislative measures that encourage economic diversifications, public-private partnerships, business incentives, and grants.

“Additionally, I will continue to work with business leaders and industry experts to stand up ‘educational pathways’ that will provide employers with a skilled and workforce-ready labor pool.”

Hawaii State House of Representatives Endorsements

“Businesses are key to recovery and getting the economy moving is key to the recovery. Allowing them to reopen will be key and part of the problem will be staying out of their way as they reopen.”

“I am running for office because as a business person I understand the challenges we face and have advocated for businesses. I have been in business for over 30 years. I have achieved many accomplishments and understand that making the wrong financial decisions can make or break you. I treat tax payers dollars as if they were my own and know that I am accountable.”

“I was part-owner of 3 restaurants on Kauai, after having spent 15 years running hotels and food & beverage operations on Kauai, Oahu and up and down the California coast. I share this experience because I know the struggles that your members go through every single day.”

“To ensure the survival of local businesses, I would appropriate necessary resources to ensure a robust system to track, trace, and test residents and visitors. Maintaining an effective contact tracing system will be critical to a safe and expedient reopening for Hawaii’s economy.”

“If re-elected, my priority would be to assist our local businesses in addressing their biggest concern, the inability to pay their monthly rent. In talking with owners of small businesses in my district, they expressed the strain that the government mandates have placed on their ability to cover their most considerable expense, rent. The Governor should impose a moratorium on commercial evictions.”

“I have worked with the Chamber for over 16 years, advocating for business and building a strong partnership between B2B, governmental oversights and advocating for greater opportunities.

“As a Representative, I have supported the Chamber by attending their MAC trips to promote Hawaii’s unique advantage to our Military. Our partnership has resulted in very little negative impacts during the BRAC discussions and we have successfully increased the amount of work done at PHNSY.”

“Both my husband and I come from families that own small businesses, so I intimately understand how difficult it is to handle daily operations. Unfortunately, the communication of leaders has been unclear and at times contradictory to itself creating frustration and confusion among our communities.

“The uncertainty and weekly changing of the rules in emergency proclamations have resulted in so many of our local businesses closing. If these businesses have any hope of a comeback there needs to be a transparent and organized effort for necessary levels of contact tracing and testing.”

“At the start of the pandemic in March, I wanted assurances that businesses would be using state relief money to pay their workers and not pay past debts. That time is now well-passed, and we are in ‘save as many businesses as we can’ mode.”

“Businesses will need capital – and so we need to keep our emergency loan funds robust and efficient to help businesses stay afloat. Relatedly, we should also consider lowering taxes for businesses during this time.”

Honolulu City Council Endorsements

“I am also a big believer in the collective wisdom of our business community and have seen first hand that they are often left out or marginalized when it comes to crafting policy or forming working groups. I will work to see those voices are heard and respected.”

“I would prioritize the needs of Hawaiʻi’s business community by making sure that they are included in the formulation of our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Many of the policies that have been implemented lack common-sense and have been burdensome for many local businesses.”

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