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Native rights are important to maintaining, but it is also fair to say that Hawaiʻi must move forward on building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The two positions are not mutually exclusive. When Hawaiʻi was competing for the honor of the world’s most powerful telescope and subsequently won, it was a great victory because it supported Hawaiʻi’s famous scientific capabilities and was a big step toward a future of diversifying what was then, and still is, an economy dominated by the commodities of tourism and real estate.
The State of Hawaiʻi signed a contract with developers of TMT years ago. Not to honor that contract has forced sponsors to look at other sites and would place a black mark on Hawaiʻi’s business reputation going forward, making it unlikely that other companies and industries who wish to do business here, will consider dealing with Hawaiʻi’s government. While I am open to further discussion and changes in the management of Mauna Kea, such as the total number of telescope reductions on the summit, I do not support road and work blockage or the takeover of any part of the area by any group. The State had a duty, at the very first take over, to enforce the law and keep all areas open even while negotiations persisted. Unfortunately, the State has proven to be a weak business partner and negotiator in this matter. I will be a voice in support of following through on efforts to bring more industry to the state, such as moving forward with the construction of TMT on Mauna Kea.
“While I am open to further discussion and changes in the management of Mauna Kea, I do not support road and work blockage or the takeover of any part of the area by any group.”