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A New Day in Hawaii

To invest in education and rebuild our economy
To sustain our Hawaii for future generations
To restore public confidencea new day

This plan (click here to download PDF) is a roadmap based on our values and priorities. It is the result of conversations with thousands of people and many hours of research. I’ve met with business people, entrepreneurs, economists, principals, teachers, parents, academics, public employees, farmers, nonprofit leaders, health professionals, students, seniors, conservationists, cultural practitioners, construction workers, and citizens of all backgrounds. We also held dozens of issue forums and meetings on every island to hear from you about your concerns and hopes for Hawaii.

The message is crystal clear. We want to change direction in Hawaii. We want to move away from the economic and social policies of the status quo that consistently postpone solving problems, leaving them for future generations. And we also want to move away from the divisive, negative politics that has been tearing our communities apart.

We want a new day in Hawaii, a new way forward.



Economy and Jobs

In 2010, the choice is clear. We can rebuild our economy around the interests of Hawaii’s middle class, or we can reelect Hawaii’s economic status quo. My economic plan addresses the weaknesses in our economy in order to create good paying jobs right away, keep more money in the islands by producing our own food and energy, and invest in the capabilities of our people through education.

  • Save and create jobs now, and seed the good jobs of the future: Utilize federal stimulus dollars right away; build a 21st century infrastructure; construct workforce housing, support small business; infuse technology and innovation throughout the economy
  • Increase self-reliance and protect our resources: Produce our own energy; grow our own food; advance sustainable tourism and development
  • Invest in the skills, health, and wealth of working families: Make an unprecedented investment in early childhood; achieve excellence in lower and higher education; ensure a healthy workforce; grow a resilient middle class
  • Rebuild confidence in government and how tax dollars are spent: Develop stronger partnerships; improve transparency and implement procurement reform; make government lead by example


If we expect accountability from our schools, we must provide our principals and teachers the authority to assume that responsibility. My plan will make sure principals and teachers get the support they need to meet this challenge. As Governor, I will take personal responsibility to restore public confidence in our schools.

  • Incorporate the superintendent of schools into the Governor’s cabinet
  • Decentralize school administration: Entrust principals with control of programs and budgets; form principal leadership academies; design and implement comprehensive accountability measures; support teacher career advancement; redefine the role of the central DOE; encourage innovation in traditional and charter schools
  • Compete in President Obama’s “Race to the Top”
  • Ensure school readiness
  • Generate private investment in schools

Education - Early Childhood

Investing in early childhood has an impact on education, health, safety net programs, homelessness, crime, substance abuse, community development and economic development. On a strong foundation of early childhood development, and by once again being a pioneer in this area, Hawaii will build our social, educational, and economic future.

  • Institute cabinet-level leadership and coordination on early childhood initiatives
  • Expand prevention and early intervention programs
  • Create a universal network of childcare and preschool support
  • Establish the state government as a model of family-friendly employment practices
  • Develop the early childhood workforce

Education - University of Hawaii System

With all that it currently contributes, I still believe the University of Hawaii system is the single most underutilized public resource in Hawaii. UH will contribute to and have a leadership role in every element of our comprehensive plan for Hawaii. And in an Abercrombie Administration, we will make sure that college is accessible and affordable.

  • Support the entrepreneurial professor
  • Facilitate innovation and technology transfer
  • Support renovation efforts
  • Maximize accessibility for students on all islands
  • Support premier education and research projects


Hawaii’s most important economic enterprise right now is to pursue energy independence. When we are successful, we will create good “green” jobs and grow local businesses while retaining a major portion of the billions of dollars that we now spend on imported oil so we can reinvest it here at home.

  • Create an independent Hawaii Energy Authority
  • Allow independent power producers to sell directly to end users
  • Implement property assessed clean energy (PACE) bond financing
  • Align the electric utility’s success with Hawaii’s clean energy goals
  • Increase the public benefits fund for more efficiency programs
  • “Green” government
  • Support workforce development for good, “green” jobs
  • Research, expand and deploy renewables with clear community benefits
  • Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for transportation

Environment and Natural Resources

Every aspect of our lives is intertwined with the natural resources of our islands. Our survival is literally dependent on proper stewardship. A strong economy is not one based on unfettered consumption of our natural resources, but instead one that is sustainable over time.

  • Restore capabilities of and public confidence in the Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • Advance our clean energy future
  • Increase local food production and consumption
  • Improve prevention, management, and response system for invasive species
  • Prepare for the impacts of climate change
  • Develop an integrated plan for solid waste across the state


Food and Agriculture

It is time for an Agricultural Renaissance in Hawaii. Producing more of our own food in Hawaii will keep money in the local economy, protect green space, support thriving rural communities, reduce the risk of invasive species, and make us more secure against disruptions to our food supply lines.

  • Preserve and start growing on agricultural lands
  • Repair irrigation systems
  • Develop integrated agricultural/environmental/
cultural education programs
  • Lower the costs of farming for community-based entrepreneurs
  • Raise the supply of local food
  • Raise the demand for local food
  • Support agricultural exporting
  • Support individual participation through storm water recapture and community, school, and family gardens



We will focus on first things first—ensuring that all people have access to quality healthcare, addressing the root causes of poor health, and concentrating on prevention and public health education. At the same time, we will collaboratively develop a universal system that integrates the best aspects of our private and public systems of care.

  • Build on every federal healthcare reform opportunity for Hawaii
  • Expand Community Health Centers
  • Address the physician shortage
  • Expand the use of information technology in healthcare
  • Rebuild the public health infrastructure with a focus on children
  • Support patient-centered models of care that focus on prevention and address social determinants of health
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to address Hawaii’s aging population
  • Lead a multifaceted task force to develop a system of universal healthcare


Health – Older Adults and Aging

One of the most important public challenges of our time is to ensure that our rapidly growing population of retirees and elders can live productive and dignified lives. In an Abercrombie Administration the challenges of aging will be seen as a social issue, not just one for families to deal with on their own.

  • Empower aging at home and in communities
  • Create a “silver wave” of opportunities for active older-adults
  • Develop a Hawaii center of excellence on aging
  • Reinvigorate the State Office of Aging
  • Promote and support comprehensive life planning

Housing, Families, and Human Services

Too many families in Hawaii are living in a crisis situation. We can turn things around and restore Hawaii’s national reputation as a state that really cares for its citizens. We need to renew our investment in people and programs to end cycles of poverty, prevent family violence, nurture and sustain physical and social health, address the myriad of physical and social barriers facing the disabled, and reduce homelessness.

  • Access federal dollars and rebuild the safety net
  • Build workforce housing through public-private partnerships
  • Develop asset-building programs to address poverty and grow the middle class
  • Lead a comprehensive inter-governmental approach to homelessness
  • Invest in early childhood
  • Rebuild the mental health system
  • Reframe our approach to aging
  • Secure adequate funds and build capacity to serve compact migrants


Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Small business is critical to job creation and our economic recovery. In an Abercrombie Administration, government will listen to small businesses, remove cumbersome barriers, open up opportunities, help solve problems, forge partnerships between businesses and communities, and advocate for local products and services.

  • Conduct a full review and refinement of regulation and permitting processes
  • Create a Governor’s clearinghouse for federal opportunities
  • Coordinate “Buy Local” efforts
  • Protect and market Hawaii’s brands
  • Teach business skills
  • Implement procurement reform


Technology and Innovation

Technology and innovation have fundamentally changed how business is done and how people live their lives. We need to create an environment in Hawaii for innovative industries to thrive and simultaneously apply technology to all sectors. This will raise productivity and create good jobs in all areas of the economy and for all people.

  • Create a Governor’s Technology Council
  • Support science, technology, and innovation in schools
  • Integrate our university system with local business to drive economic diversity and prosperity
  • Develop a new regime of tech incentives and capital formation supports
  • Build tech development and commercialization centers
  • Appoint a Chief Information Officer of the State
  • Improve the climate for businesses by improving government processes


More Issues

  • Protect the human and civil rights of all, regardless of categories
  • Reinforce economic and community development by investing in culture and the arts
  • Support Native Hawaiian self-determination and resolve long-standing controversies
  • Employ a firm and consistent approach to criminal justice and put an end to shipping prisoners out of state
  • Hold the line on taxes and rebuild confidence in a government that is transparent, fair, and cost-effective
  • Increase transportation options and address transportation issues on all islands to improve the business climate and quality of life for our residents


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