This election is too important to miss

Every election is important, but Tuesday’s general election is critical for a number of reasons.

First, there are several hotly contested races that can shake things up at the county and state levels, including the governor’s race and several County Council races. Then, there is the extremely harmful ballot initiative that, if enacted, will be devastating to our economy, create massive job loss, hurt our agricultural industry and cost all residents more.

If ever there was a time for residents to come out and vote, this is it. We hope to see the numbers of voters soar this year and that you and all you know will be included in that count.

While the genetically modified organisms ballot question is receiving a lot of attention, let us not forget the many people running for elected office to serve on local, state and federal levels.

We applaud all candidates running. It is hard work and requires tremendous sacrifice. We thank them for broadening our choices and the discussion on issues.

In terms of whom we endorse, we back those deemed to be the most “business friendly” by our Chamber of Maui Political Action Committee, regardless of their political affiliation, as the chamber is nonpartisan and nonsectarian. We know that when business-friendly candidates – who understand business issues and support a triple bottom line view of sustainability – are elected to office, we get to support reasonable regulation, instead of spending great amounts of time fighting bad legislation, and can focus our time and attention on positive economic activities that benefit us all.

Please vote for these “business-friendly” candidates this election:

* U.S. Senate – Cam Cavasso.

* U.S. House, District 2 – Kawika Crowley.

* Governor – James “Duke” Aiona.

* State Senate, District 6 – Roz Baker.

* State House, District 10 – Angus McKelvey.

* State House, District 12 – Richard Pohle.

* State House, District 8 – Joe Souki.

* Mayor – Alan Arakawa.

* County Council, Upcountry – Gladys Baisa.

* County Council, Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu – Joe Blackburn.

* County Council, West Maui – Ka’ala Buenconsejo.

* County Council, East Maui – Bob Carroll.

* County Council, South Maui – Don Couch.

* County Council, Molokai – Stacy Crivello.

  • County Council, Kahului – Don Guzman.
  • County Council, Makawao-Haiku-Paia – Mike White.

On the GMO initiative, we encourage people to vote “no” because the ballot initiative is not balanced. It was written by the SHAKA Movement from their perspective, and does not tell the full story. Twelve pages of legislation will be enacted if it passes, with many clauses that are harmful to farmers, individuals and the community. That is why the chamber, the mayor and council members are speaking out against it and why the council did not vote on it earlier.

The Oct. 28 article on the Maui GMO ballot question by the Civil Beat Editorial Board also encourages people to vote no “on this flawed measure.” Civil Beat said that “the initiative offers no clear path toward lifting a ‘temporary’ ban on GMO crops” and that “no matter where you fall within this vitriolic and divisive debate . . . the Maui ballot initiative should be evaluated for what it is: a proposed piece of legislation . . . we have concluded that the initiative itself falls woefully short of serving the public interest.”

Many Maui residents agree. The Maui News’ online poll on this issue asked: “Mayor Alan Arakawa and other groups have argued that the anti-GMO ballot initiative is poorly written. How do you feel?” As of Oct. 28, the results show:

* 24 percent, “The ballot initiative is clearly written.”

* 11 percent, “The ballot initiative has flaws but is still acceptable.”

* 59 percent, “The ballot initiative is poorly written to create unintended consequences.”

* 3 percent, “Not sure.”

* 2 percent, “Don’t care.”

The issue may be complicated, but the ballot initiative is not. It is bad legislation. Please, please vote “no”!

* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce