Message from Councilmember Kelly Takaya King
Aloha Kākou,

Happy holidays! 

As we send this newsletter out, I have just finished wrapping up the final Council meeting of the year--and what a year it's been! While 2021 had its share of setbacks, it has been a good year for progress in Maui County. My fellow councilmembers and I have collaborated on a number of landmark measures to protect the environment, preserve open space, increase access to affordable housing, manage tourism, and more.

None of it could be done without your support and participation! 

We are living in precarious times, with the ongoing pandemic, climate change, and social ills afflicting our hardworking local families. These and other issues impede my ability to get a good night’s sleep, but it’s your support and passion for solving these issues that pushes me to fight as promised for meaningful solutions. 

While you may not be in the virtual chambers for every motion or vote, your regular input reminds me that we all have the ability to make a difference. Whether it’s leaving a comment for the upcoming South Maui Community Plan, applying for a County board or commission, submitting testimony on the issues that matter most to you, or volunteering, there are many ways to get involved in keeping Maui No Ka Oi.

Sometimes, making a difference is as simple as taking care of one another. The holiday season reminds us of this: Beautiful things happen when we seize the opportunities to care for others.

I was a delegate to the UN Conference Of the Parties (COP26) Climate Change Conference last month and the importance of multi-level collaboration was clear. There were fears that international talks would break down and there would be no update to the commitments to combat climate change. Indeed, the commitments by ours and other national governments fell short of what we probably need to reach the world’s goals to mitigate the worst disasters.

The message I brought to the conference stayed strong: Counties and small governments can and should lead action where international commitments fall short. When we’re overwhelmed by problems that seem out of our control, sometimes the best thing we can do is to start where we are and take action where we can–even if it’s just simple gestures to show the people and community around us that we care.

The photo above shows my own home holiday lights. Imagine, by John Lennon, is one of my favorite songs. As I dream of better things for Maui Nui and its people, I know that I’m not the only one because of people like you. 

Mahalo, again, for your support and engagement. I wish you a bright, joyful, and restful holiday season. Stay in touch–I’m eager to hear all you have imagined for the New Year. 

Sustainably yours,
Virtual Community Meetings

We invite you to join us for our virtual Webinars and Town Halls. These meetings address community concerns like food security, COVID-19, and sustainable tourism. Coming soon will be a recap of CM King's two weeks at COP26 as a delegate of ICLEI-USA.

To join the conversation, sign up for this newsletter and follow us on Facebook for announcements of upcoming virtual events. Our webinars and town halls are also archived on our Facebook page.

If you have an idea for a webinar or town hall
that will benefit our community, please email our office via
In the Virtual Chambers
Prohibition of Non-Mineral Sunscreens Enacted

The Maui County Council passed Bill 135, prohibiting the sale, use, and distribution of non-mineral sunscreens. The bill was signed by the Mayor and enacted as Ordinance 5306. Ordinance 5306 is a historic law as the first of its kind in the nation. It recognizes that several chemicals in non-mineral sunscreens have recently been demonstrated to pose a threat to the health of coastal waters, coral reefs, and other marine species. Ordinance 5306 will take effect on October 1, 2022. The sale, distribution, or use of prohibited non-mineral sunscreens will be considered a violation of the Maui County Code, subject to penalties and enforcement procedures. Fines will be deposited into the County Environmental Protection and Sustainability Fund.
Taking Steps to Protect Biodiversity

Resolution 21-166 was adopted by the Maui County Council, enabling the County to join the CitiesWithNature Partnership and sign on to the Edinburgh Declaration on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Of 23 species proposed to be extinct in September 2021, nine of those species are native to Hawai`i, including five bird and plant species that once inhabited Maui Nui. This effort is a start to gathering the resources, support, and expertise to protect our precious ecosystem and endangered species. Read the Resolution.
Establishing a Sister City Relationship with San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Maui County and San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Republic of Ecuador both deal with managing the effects of globalization and rapidly growing tourism along with their environmental impacts, and San Cristobal Island has been globally recognized for implementing responsible tourism. This sister city relationship, adopted by the County Council, will bring about a greater bond between our communities and an increased understanding of how we can address our shared challenges.
Photo: The blue-footed booby does a mating dance. Half of the mating pairs live in the Galapagos. Credit: CM King.
Protecting Our Wetlands

The County Council recently advanced legislation introduced by CM King to map wetlands and expand County protections of these sensitive and important areas. In recent decades, significant amounts of wetlands in South Maui have been lost to development. As seen during the recent Kona low storm, the result of developing over nature's drainage systems is flooding. The bill requires Planning Commission review and Council readings before passage. Stay tuned! Click here to read about the proposal.

In addition to following the wetlands legislation, join the South Maui Save the Wetlands Hui for a hands-on experience protecting our wetlands. The organization and its volunteers regularly hold clean-up days (photo right) to restore the natural habitat of these important areas.
Reflecting on COP26 with State Leaders

After returning from the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, CM King was able to reflect with other state leaders who were at COP26 to discuss their takeaways and ideas for local and state action. Creating benchmarking programs for County buildings and setting limits to local contributions to emissions are some ideas to come forth.
Supporting Hulihia and Ho`omahua Initiatives

At recent CARE Committee meetings, CM King scheduled presentations about two locally grown projects designed to address sustainability on Maui: Hulihia and Ho`omahua Initiative. A joint project between Kamehameha Schools and UH Maui College, Hulihia seizes upon the transdisciplinary nature of sustainability science and need for community -based solutions to create a center for modeling these complex interactions and ensuring community voice is heard. The Ho`omahua Initiative is an effort to develop a smart device application that will utilize live data on traffic at popular tourist destinations to inform residents and visitors about potential congestion at these sites. With this information, residents and visitors will be able to make better decisions and locations should be less crowded and stressed. The application will also include resources for cultural information and guidance on buying locally made products to support our economy.

Visitor Accommodations Moratorium, Housing Interest List, and `Aina Kupuna Bill
In the last quarter of the year, the County Council also passed Bill 148, establishing a moratorium on new transient accommodations, Bill 111, establishing a workforce housing list prioritizing local residents, and Bill 118, which allows tax relief for lands that have been held by a family for at least 80 years. Together, these initiatives will protect residents' quality of life, provide affordable homes for locals, and keep longtime kama`aina and kanaka families from being displaced.
Preview: Upcoming in CARE Committee

The CARE Committee has a full agenda and will be moving ahead on initiatives to bolster the County's climate action, resilience, and environmental efforts. To view the list of items currently on the CARE Committee's master agenda and to see upcoming meeting agendas, click here. You can always contact us with your input and feedback on these issues! In the coming months, CM King plans to look at wastewater facility needs, protections for native seabirds, emissions benchmarking requirements for public County facilities, carbon sequestration, and refrigerant management. Come testify!
Happy Holidays!
Councilmember Kelly King and her staff wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. May the new year bring joy, peace, and continued progress toward a sustainable Maui Nui!
South Maui Updates

CM King and staff continue outreach to South Maui residents despite the limitations of the pandemic. We utilize videoconferencing technology to regularly meet with stakeholders, colleagues, and constituents. CM King presents webinars, hosts panel discussions, and facilitates multiple public meetings. Public input is important to the decision-making process!

What do you envision for South Maui? Get involved and share your thoughts by becoming a part of the South Maui Community Plan process and visiting The South Maui Community Design Workshop closed for comment in October. Planners are compiling the data. You can invite the Planning Department to speak to your community group about the Plan by emailing

Report Property Damage from Kona Low Storm
Maui County continues to offer residents resources to assist with recovery from recent flooding from torrential rains. Residents and business operators are asked to report property damage in an online form at For those without online access, call the Maui Emergency Management Agency at (808) 270-7285.

Rental and Utility Assistance
Rental and utility assistance is available for Maui residents! Support for up to 12 months can be provided, up to $2,000/month for rent and $500 for utilities. To learn more, visit or call the helpline at 808-873-4673

Affordable Housing
In July, the Council received the Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan created by Jeff Gilbreath and his team at Hawaiian Community Assets. CM King has long been a proponent of this kind of a comprehensive plan to put 5,000 affordable homes online in the next five years. With this blueprint in hand, CM King is looking to implement some of the suggestions as soon as possible to address the housing crisis. Learn about the plan at Follow along at and by monitoring the Affordable Housing Committee.
In the Community
The Maui County Kākou: Civic Engagement Video Series (click for video) series is online now! Get a crash course in County civics from local personalities like George Kahumoku Jr. and Kathy Collins. Share with your family and friends, learn about the process, and get involved!
The students of Jadda Millerʻs 7th grade science class at Kihei Charter School worked with the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute on an impressive report regrading the availability and use of "reef safe" sunscreens. We applaud and mahalo them for their outstanding work on the report and submission of thoughtful testimony which contributed to the recent passage of Ordinance 5306, banning chemical sunscreens in Maui County. Read the report.
The Maui County Council is forming a Youth Council for high school-aged youth in Maui County! Please contact Axel Beers at or 808-270-8018 with any questions or to discuss the application procedure.
We're neighbors! South Maui's District Office at the Maui Research and Technology Park is open. Daniel Kanahele, a familiar face and voice in South Maui, is the District Office Aide staffing the office. The District Office is a location for South Maui to connect to the business of the County Council without having to travel to Central Maui.
Photo: Councilmembers King, Lee, Molina, and Paltin (left to right) in the new South Maui District Office for the inaugural blessing.
Councilmember King participated in more than 15 panels and events at the UN Climate Change conference and brought a message of local action to the global stage while networking with fellow leaders from around the globe. For her efforts, she was recognized as ICLEI USA Local Government for Sustainability's November ICLEI Champion!
"I was always struck by the message of the circular economy that you brought to the space and really recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted local governments, particularly Maui, a place that relies heavily on tourism as a primary industry, recognizing that this is an opportunity to both address the climate crisis-diversifying the economy, bringing jobs to especially the youth who want to stay on your beautiful island--and leverage all of the amazing human and cultural resources Maui has to offer," said ICLEI USA Senior Program Officer Kale Roberts.
United Nations Climate Change Conference
This photo is from Garthland Drive, where CM King stayed during the conference. Each day started with daily COVID testing, train rides, a long walk to the venue (which is closed off from traffic), and finally getting through mob lines and security!
CM King signs the Edinburgh Declaration on the post-2020 biodiversity framework. Mahalo nui loa to the Maui County Council for passing a resolution and the Mayor for his proclamation in support of this action, both of which allowed CM King to commit Maui to biodiversity on the international stage!
A COP26 panel on Women's Leadership on Gender Equity and Climate Change was hosted by First Minister of Scotland Nikola Sturgeon (pictured). International leaders signed a joint statement calling for the role of women and girls to be advanced in addressing climate change.
CM King spoke on a panel at the Japan Pavilion with EPA Administrator Michael Regan (second from left) on the "Decarbonization Domino Effect" and how counties can lead climate action by example
Councilmember King and ICLEI USA Board President Brigid Shea spoke with Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor (far right in the seated photo). The meeting fostered collaboration among the different levels of government to address climate action. We're all in this together!
ICLEI USA Board President Brigid Shea and CM King worked together to bring the message of county-level action to the international stage. It's time for climate action!
From Our Inbox
Aloha, Commissioner Shea, Mayor Cava, Mayor Cownie, and Mayor Peduto:

As Chair of the Maui County Council and a voting member of the Council’s
Climate Action, Resilience, and Environment (CARE) Committee, I would like to congratulate and thank you for being part of the ICLEI USA delegation to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. I also speak for the entire Council when I say how proud we are to have our colleague Councilmember Kelly Takaya King join you on the ICLEI USA Board and at COP 26.

Maui County is in many ways an environmental wonder, but as part of the most isolated population center in the world, it has a number of unique and growing environmental challenges. We also face many of the same issues plaguing other municipalities across the country and around the world, including impacts from climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel dependency, depletion of natural resources, and inequitable development.

The work that ICLEI USA is doing to solve these pressing problems and create a more sustainable future is both vital and appreciated. It has never been more crucial for municipal leaders to build connections and alliances at all levels of government and across different sectors of society, and COP26 of course represents one of the best examples of knowledge-sharing and international cooperation with local representation. 

I look forward to the ideas, information, and strategies that are sure to arise from this important global gathering—and to incorporating many of them into our action plans for a more sustainable and resilient Maui County.

So while you are at COP26, please know that you have the full support and gratitude of the Maui County Council and so many others throughout our nation. And please do take some time to enjoy yourselves.

Mahalo nui loa,
Maui County Council 
Learn more about becoming a member of Kihei Community Association here.
Learn more about becoming a member of Ma`alaea Village Association here.
Office of Kelly Takaya King
Our office can be found on the 8th floor of the County Building, suites 819 and 820.
Our district office is located in Suite 9 of the Maui Economic Development Board Building at the Maui Research and Technology Park at 1305 North Holopono Street, Kihei.

Our staff may be working remotely but we are available by phone at (808) 270-7108 (County Building), (808) 793-0012 (district office), or via email during regular business hours.

In addition to contributing to many non-profits, including the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Hale KauKau, Kelly King has served Hawai`i as an active Leader or Board Member in the following organizations:
  • Kihei Community Association
  • Decisions Maui
  • Kihei Neighborhood Playgroup
  • Maui High School/Community-Based Management
  • Girl Scouts Hawaii
  • Hawaii State Board of Education, Maui Representative
  • Hui Malama Learning Center
  • AKAKU: Maui Community TV
  • Hawaii Energy Policy Forum
  • Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance
  • Maui Farmers Union
  • High Tech Development Corporation
  • Climate Reality Project Maui
  • 100 Women Who Care
Kelly currently sits on the board of ICLEI USA, the leading global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. She is Vice President of the Hawai`i State Association of Counties and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Local Government Advisory Committee.
Axel Beers
Executive Assistant
Axel is a born-and-raised Maui boy now raising a young family of his own. He has experience in education and journalism, and a strong interest in politics and policy.
Ellen McKinley
Executive Assistant
Ellen is passionate about policy, sustainability, and environmental issues. She received recognition as a Volunteer Hero by the County of Maui in 2021. She is licensed as an attorney in California and Washington.
Sarah Sexton
Executive Assistant
Sarah has spent much of her adult life building community through a cultural arts lens as a live event producer. Since graduating from UC Berkeley, where she studied politics in pop culture, she has shifted her focus to local government, and volunteer work as an exotic animal caregiver.
Daniel Kanahele
District Office Staff
Daniel is a South Maui resident who has served his community as a citizen volunteer for the past two decades. Aloha ʻāina, or love of the land, love of the people, and love of the nation, is his core value.
png county logo

County Building
200 South High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793


South Maui District Office:
1305 N Holopono Street, Suite 9
Kihei, HI 96753


NEWSLETTER - Fourth Quarter 2021