BJ Penn

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Photo: BJ Penn

Republican
  • Age | 43
  • Occupation | Father, Business Owner, Former 2x UFC World Champion
  • Where did you grow up | Hilo, Hawaiʻi
  • Schooling | Hilo, Hawaiʻi
  • Current residence | Hilo, Hawaiʻi
  • Website | www.bjpenngov.com
  1. The housing challenges in Hawaiʻi are well known and represent a failure of leadership from our elected officials that has persisted for decades. They all talk about solutions during election season, but they never deliver.
    Addressing the thousands of people waiting for access to Hawaiian homesteads is one of my top priorities. The legislature recently committed $600 million dollars to the DHHL to address the waiting list for Native Hawaiians. I currently have a small team looking carefully at the legislation and the past actions of the DHHL and DLNR to make recommendations on how this money can be used most effectively. It is time that everyone on the list gets what they have been promised. I believe this money could be used to leverage much more investment that will allow us to finally live up to our promise as a state. Investing in eco-conscious housing solutions both for new development and restoring existing structures is also key. As is, the importance of making sure our sacred lands are being appropriately zoned and utilized with intention and homage to Hawaiʻi residents.
    The simple supply and demand is the main driver of cost and, knowing that, my team and I will take action to alleviate the massive pressure driving prices up. I don’t believe the government can or should build or manage housing. However, we can provide incentives for the type of development that can alleviate the supply shortage at the lower price level, while requiring that all projects hold developers and investors accountable to guidelines that protect sacred land and natural resources.
  2. If we are going to build a strong and prosperous Hawaiʻi we must address our dependence on the mainland and foreign countries for our food, energy and general economic development. My administration will be committed to identifying, recruiting and supporting businesses and industries that allow us to move away from our dependence on others. We will build a sustainable Hawaiʻi through agricultural development, diversification of our energy sources and broader incentives for non-tourism-related growth. In doing this our top priorities will be that anyone doing business in Hawaiʻi understand and respect our commitment to; stewardship of the land, education of the young and job opportunities for the people of Hawaiʻi.
    Our vision is one of a self-reliant Hawaiʻi that can bargain from a position of strength. Geographically we are essential to the security of the mainland, but because we are so dependent we can not use this to our advantage. This will change under my leadership. We will become self-reliant and therefore begin dealing with others from a position of strength.
  3. Here is another example of failed leadership from the people we have elected. Our legislature passed, and our governor signed a bill that they had to know couldn’t be implemented without significant resources. My administration will make good on this promise based on the resources necessary to make it a reality. By the end of January 2023, I will require the DOE to provide my office with a complete report on their efforts to comply with this law to date, the full scope of the current implementation, and their estimation of the resources necessary to fully comply. The public deserves to have a clear understanding of where we are. The legislature will be held accountable to provide adequate resources to support this program.

Yes/No Questions for Gubernatorial Candidates (4)

  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Yes
  4. Yes

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