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Maui’s mayor seeks to set a new post-pandemic course, but acknowledges challenges ahead

He also said the county is focused on emerging from the pandemic.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:37 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 12:21 AM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - In his fourth State of the County address, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said it is time to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Together, we survived the worst public health and economic crises of our lifetime. There has been no shortage of challenges,” said Victorino.

Themed “resilient and ready,” Victorino’s speech began with a montage of all the events the county has faced over the past three years.

At times Maui County had some of the strictest rules in the state — even a booster shot mandate to enter certain establishments.

In the middle of Victorino’s speech, a woman barged through the doors and started shouting, “Shame on you, Victorino! Shame on you!”

Meanwhile, a few other protesters held signs outside the venue.

“We are out here to show our disapproval for the actions this administration has taken. Today is the two-year anniversary of the lockdown and it almost feels like Mayor Victorino is taking a victory speech where his administration has done nothing but fail the people over and over and over again,” said Scott Adam.

“Tonight, that didn’t offend me,” Victorino said. “God Bless her. We move on. And for those who were out there, expressing their concerns, that’s fine. It’s their choice. They have that right.”

Victorino’s priorities included better tourism management. He talked about the Maui Nui Destination Action Plan and said the new plan discourages the kind of tourism the county experienced last Spring Break.

“Maui nui is a community first, a visitor destination second. It’s time to restore that balance,” he said.

Maui’s real estate market started the year with a new record. The median price of a single-family home on the island is now more than $1 million.

Victorino said about 2,500 workforce homes are currently in the pipeline and millions of federal infrastructure dollars are on its way.

“Working families power our economy. It’s time to provide homes they can afford to rent or buy,” he said.

Victorino also talked about the need to “go green.”

The state will soon receive almost $3 billion from the federal infrastructure bill. Victorino said that money will update water infrastructure, highways, and roads with an emphasis on mitigating climate change. He said portions of Honoapiilani Highway in West Maui will be moved inland because of erosion.

Victorino also emphasized the need for a diverse economy.

“The people of Maui County are resilient. Together, we can overcome anything,” he said.

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