As our nation and Hawai‘i continue through unpredictable economic times, I am focused in Congress on addressing our immediate challenges while investing in a more sustainable and prosperous future. My efforts include fighting inflation and the high cost-of-living concerns, and working through my House Appropriations Committee and otherwise to secure federal investment to improve our infrastructure, strengthen of core industries like tourism, defense and agriculture, and grow new industries.
Supply Chains & Cost-of-Living
The high and increasing cost of gas, groceries, rent and other consumer goods in Hawai‘i is extremely concerning and must be addressed. Supply chain disruptions, which are responsible for stock shortages and accelerating inflation, must be directly addressed.
To address underlying problems in our shipping marketplace, I reintroduced three bills to modernize the Jones Act for Hawai‘i and other U.S. noncontiguous areas (Alaska and the island territories). My bills would (1) exempt such locales from the Jones Act while ensuring that any company that enters the U.S. domestic shipping market complies fully with U.S. law, including labor and environmental requirements (the Noncontiguous Shipping Relief Act); (2) limit the rates that Jones Act carriers can charge to within 10 percent of comparable international rates (the Noncontiguous Shipping Reasonable Rate Act); and (3) exempt noncontiguous areas from the Jones Act if a duopoly or monopoly exists (the Noncontiguous Shipping Competition Act).
I will prioritize these bills and work to lead a conversation in Congress about the practical effect of the Jones Act on our Hawai‘i and ways to provide relief to the noncontiguous areas. For more information, you can read my press release on the introduction of the bills last Congress (2021-2023) at https://bit.ly/3qCpLHk.
Periods of economic uncertainty, such as the 2008 financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, illustrate how reliant Hawaii’s economy is on tourism and vulnerable it is to a recession. I have long supported developing a technology industry in Hawai‘i to help diversify our economy. To that end, I have been an advocate for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs, which help high-tech startups get federal contracts.