Nava wants to improve life in Maui County as the West Side’s councilman
LAHAINA – Focusing on creating jobs, increasing workforce and affordable housing, and expanding public transportation, Rick Nava is running for the West Maui seat on the County Council.
With citizens voting by mail for the Aug. 8 Primary Election, Nava is competing against incumbent Councilwoman Tamara Paltin and Sne Patel in the nonpartisan race.
The Lahaina resident wants to serve on the council to improve life in Maui County.
“As a small business owner and a community leader, I believe of my ability to find solutions and make a difference in the County Council, so that we can have a better Maui County,” he said.
“We all know that the lack of workforce housing and affordable rentals is a big problem in West Maui. Yet, our current councilmember, time and time again, votes ‘no’ on any plan of building homes for local families. I feel that my opponent is also anti-business,” he continued.
“If we want to have to improve our way of life, we in the council need to be a partner of small businesses as well as the resorts, if we want the people of Maui to live comfortable.”
With resorts and many businesses closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Maui has the highest unemployment rate in the state.
If elected, Nava said he would work closely with the state, county administration, Maui Chamber of Commerce, Maui Hotel and Lodging Association and Maui Visitors Bureau to help bring back visitors to Maui.
“We must have the people back to work again – much sooner than later. Our economy relies on tourism, and every one of us are affected one way or any another by the visitor industry. Without our visitors, our small businesses will not succeed,” he added.
According to Nava, the lack of workforce housing and affordable rentals is an issue dating back several elections. When developers meet all regulatory conditions, the units built are expensive and small, he said.
“I would like to see that we streamline the approval process and become a partner with the home builders, so that we can provide truly affordable homes for our local families,” Nava said.
He believes that Maui Bus ridership would increase with more shelters, so people can be comfortable while waiting for their rides.
“Further, by having more people using our public transportation, it will decrease the amount of traffic in and out of Lahaina. Similar to Adopt A Highway, I want businesses to adopt these bus shelters, where hotels/resorts, small businesses or even families can proudly display the company family name for maintaining the bus shelter,” he explained.
West Maui is the biggest source of revenue in Maui County, Nava said. He would like to see the community more engaged in county government and greater funding invested back into the region.
“I want to see the people of West Maui be a lot more involved with how our local government works. In order for this to happen, if elected, I will hold quarterly meetings with the people of Lahaina. This quarterly meeting is for me to let the people of Lahaina know what transpired in the council as well as to listen to the concerns of the people of Lahaina,” he said.
“Also, I will want the people of Lahaina to be able to testify on live video or audio, similar to Hana, Lanai and Molokai. I feel that if we make communication easier and readily accessible, we will have a lot more participants.”
Nava, 61, owns the small business Media Systems Inc. in Lahaina.
He graduated from Lahainaluna High School and has 29 years of military service.
Active in the community, Nava is a member of the Rotary Club of Lahaina (president in 2003-04, 2009-10 and 2017-18), West Maui Taxpayers Association (president in 2017-18), Maui Chamber of Commerce (chairman of the board in 2019-20) and Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation (founder/treasurer from 2016 to 2019).
Nava volunteered as a Police Commissioner from 1995 to 2000 for the County of Maui.
He wants to work to restore tourism on Maui and support small businesses.
“If elected, I will work closely with other elected councilmembers as well as Mayor Victorino and with the state to help small businesses be operating again, so that our people can get back to work again as well as helping the visitor industry,” he said.
“West Maui and Central Maui have the highest unemployment rate in the state. Therefore, it is the utmost importance that we focus on bringing back our visitors to Maui. Without tourism, which is the fuel that will move our economic engine… unemployment will continue to rise and people will continue to suffer.”
Nava believes that his business acumen and leadership ability will be major assets for the council.
“I consider myself an outside-the-box thinker, and as a successful business owner for over two decades and as someone who spent over 20 years in the military, I know what it takes to get job things done… I recognize that it will take teamwork and cooperation if we want to build a better Maui County,” he concluded.