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Deidre Tegarden is running for State House of Representative, representing South Maui House District Eleven. Joe Kent interviewed her after the Candidates Forum in Kula as part of The Grassroot Institute with Keli’i Akina, a radio show on KAOI 1110AM Maui.

Joe: “A lot of folks on Maui are seeing their rent go up and not enough housing being built to satisfy the needs. How do you see a path forward for this?”

Deidre: “I would like to see more communication between the state, the county, the landowners, and the developers. There are a number of projects going up in south Maui. We need to have that communication between the stakeholders and the community. We all realize we need affordable housing and affordable rentals. How we get there is a conversation that we have to include everybody in.”

Joe: “So it’s not an all or nothing kind of approach. You’re saying there is a balancing act in the middle, right?”

Deidre: “I completely believe in a balance. If we are going to address the many challenges our state and county are facing we need to be able to meet in the middle and everyone has to have a little give and take. If we can all agree on something, we can put our differences aside and I think we can all agree on affordable housing, the importance of our kids and families, local families having homes, good education, and everything that stems from that.”

Joe: “How do you view the protest movements on Maui?”

Deidre: “I think we do have a very strong activist voice in our community and I commend those who are taking a stance and really being involved in the process. In the end we have to start agreeing on how it is we are going to move forward. Like you mentioned, HC&S has closed down and you’re going to have 37,000 acres. What are we going to do with that land? There are a lot of discussions that have started. When I was at the County Office of Economic Development, one of the biggest issues we saw was the fact that we don’t have that next generation of farmers. The average age of a farmer is sixty-one years old. So we need to start growing that next generation. If you look at the most recent report out of the United Nations, they’re talking about how the future of farming will be a lot of small farms. We need to get behind that. I believe traditional agriculture and organic agriculture can work.”

Listen to the full interview here: