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Lahaina leader Sne Patel running for West Maui council seat

By Staff | Aug 3, 2020

Economic recovery and diversification is Sne Patel’s top priority.

LAHAINA – The State of Hawaii Primary Election ballot (Aug. 8, 2020) is in your hands; it is time to vote.

On this side of the Pali, the political prize is the West Maui County Council seat. On the 2020 ballot, there are three worthy candidates battling for the win, and Sne Patel is one of them.

The 41-year-old Front Street executive is a tried and true leader of our West Side village. He has served for almost ten years as a volunteer board member and president of the LahainaTown Action Committee.

He appreciated the experience.

“As president, it has often been my job to listen to and reconcile the different wishes and opinions of both members and the greater community. To have this understanding and ability to solve differences in a meaningful and constructive way is a key part of leadership that LAC has afforded me.”

Service is important to the Kahana resident.

“I was raised with the value that we are all part of a greater community,” he told the Lahaina News, “and, when we give back we are doing our part to ensure its vibrancy and prosperity.”

Over the years, Patel has fine-tuned his leadership skills. A Ka Ipu Kukui Program Fellow, Patel was selected to participate in the year-long leadership training program he describes as “a comprehensive approach to the discovery of finding solutions to address Maui’s challenges.”

“As a fellow, I gained insight into areas including infrastructure, community planning, sustainability and fiscal policy. Through this experience, I have gained an understanding of how we can build a more diversified and resilient economy, produce clean energy, take care of our community and be better stewards of our land and natural resources.”

Patel is positive.

“Maui Nui faces many challenges during this time, but our beautiful islands also offer many opportunities to address these and create new possibilities for our community.”

Patel defined the three major hyperlocal issues -unemployment, affordable housing and infrastructure – and he had answers.

“Our families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. With CARES Act funding, the county can continue to provide meal, housing and social support services to keep our families safe and healthy. This funding can also be used for workforce training, education, certification programs and job counseling initiatives to help workers who wish to transition to different careers; this can also help diversify our economy,” he advised.

Patel agreed with the other candidates on the topic of housing.

“We have a shortage of truly affordable homes for rent and sale,” he acknowledged. “We must work together to comprehensively address this through effective policy, planning and public-private partnerships. The county can work with state, nonprofit and development entities to lower the costs and barriers to new developments.

“Adding timely expirations on developer approvals for new projects and further clarifying short-term rental status to remove illegally operating units can also help to create more housing,” he continued. “I believe we need a range of options to meet the diverse needs of our community, from higher density units to single-family options.”

Beyond affordable housing, Patel noted, there are other infrastructure demands West Mauians face, including the state of our roads, early education and youth development programs.

“With council and administration working together, and successful working relationships with state and federal legislators as well as non-profits, I believe we can move some of these much-needed projects forward,” Patel explained.

Economic recovery and diversification is Patel’s top priority.

“Through strategic investment in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, education, clean energy and IT, we can have meaningful high-wage, high-skill jobs for our community.

“To do this,” the father of three young sons (13, seven and four) explained, “we must invest in education, training and infrastructure, including broadband technology.”

No one is left behind in his design.

“We must also continue to invest in entrepreneurship, for small business is essential to a strong economy. We can also help our current displaced workers transition to new careers with workforce development, training and certification efforts in areas like the trades and technology,” Patel added.

A safe return to tourism is vital, he said, to economic revitalization.

“With mandated testing for all arrivals (residents and visitors), increased testing countywide and designated quarantine sites, we can help to keep our case level low and reduce community spread. CARES Act funding can be used to help fund these measures.

“I think,” Patel added, “tourism will always play a role in our economy, so I will work to make it more balanced and sustainable for our community, infrastructure and natural resources.”

The Lahaina Town leader is more than just words. He has a well-grounded, well-rounded background with a propensity towards action.

From the University of Illinois at Chicago, he earned a B.F.A. in Photography, Film & Electronic Media and a B.A. in Performing Arts. He played Division I College Tennis and was published as an undergraduate fellow in cancer research.

Patel and his wife, Tabatha, co-founded Kuka, “a development-stage mobile application that allows users to send video testimony to local legislators.”

We “believe that including our community’s voices in local governance matters is critical to developing successful solutions We are currently working with the nonprofit Code for Hawaii to develop an MVP that will be tested in the coming weeks,” Patel announced.

Patel wants your vote.

“I believe we are at a critical moment in our future, and we must have leadership that can respond with an eye to both our immediate and future needs. I believe that I can bring a proven ability to build strong and productive working relationships that can help move our county forward in important ways. These necessary relationships include the council and administration as well as state and federal legislators and other important entities such as nonprofits,” he said.

“I also believe that my private sector experience in the small business world has taught me the importance of fiscal responsibility, timely execution and the value of innovation and resourcefulness in accomplishing goals.”