If elected to serve another term on the Kauai County Council, Mason Chock hopes to promote entrepreneurship on Kauai.
“We need to increase the capacity of our Office of Economic Development so that entrepreneurship is supported at the county level with incubator programs that help develop emerging industries and small businesses,” he said. “We have to make it easy for the public to be creative and develop new ideas that can serve multiple needs on our island.”
Another way to support small business and entrepreneurship is working with Kauai Community College to expand on programs developed by the OED, Chock said.
“Working with the college on these type of initiatives would go far in creating models for our community to embrace and support,” he said.
Chock, a Kapaa resident and graduate from Kamehameha and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was elected to the County Council in 2013.
He has been serving Kauai for 18 years — from a rescue specialist for the Kauai Fire Department to developing Kanu I Ka Pono Charter School and The Waipa Foundation. He extended his work with The Waipa Foundation by creating Kupu Ae, a leadership development program that focuses on socio-economic change based in education, business and government.
Chock, who serves as president of Kupu Ae, is one of 40 certified master facilitators of The Leadership Challenge in the world.
He hopes to bring his leadership experience to the Kauai County Council to regain public trust in the government.
“I intend to build relationships internally that allow for more open communication between our legislative branch and administration,” he said. “If we can solve problems collaboratively, trust can be gained to help us work more cohesively, rather than solely strategically.”
Consistency is an important tool in regaining trust, he added.
“We must do what we say we will do, and when we don’t, we must take ownership for the failures of our system,” he said. “I hope to empower our managing director to have more oversight and accountability for our department heads so that transparency and responsibility can be tracked.”
Chock, 45, also plans to reduce county lawsuits and other conflicts by continuing to introduce resolutions that will allow disputes to be solved in-house. During his time as a council member, Chock has passed measures that implemented alternative dispute resolutions, giving the Human Resources Department the resources to settle disputes.
If elected to another term, Chock hopes to look at other ways to solve conflicts without a third party mediator.
“Through continued collaboration and communication with our County Attorney, we plan to take on more lawsuits and conflicts in-house rather than expending money on contracting external law firms,” he said.
Another priority for the next term is creating a budget that is sustainable, Chock said.
“The Government Finance Officers Association is currently contracted to help us create this plan. The plan will identify priorities and where to eliminate waste,” he said. “The next term will be to ensure all parties are committed to the proposed plan and willing to execute the plan.”
Hiring a new auditor is key, Chock said.
“We need to get a qualified professional on board as soon as possible,” he said.
Chock also plans to focus on deregulating the government to better take care of Kauai’s trails and parks.
“De-regulation is important in getting government out of the way where community groups or private partnerships can more effectively accomplish shared goals,” he said.