Maui Business

Hawai‘i on the Hill Summit ‘Gets Down to Business’

June 8, 2016, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated June 8, 11:02 AM
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Sen. Mazie Hirono introduced US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Hawai‘i State Senate President Ron Kouchi. US Senate photo.

Sen. Mazie Hirono introduced US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Hawai‘i State Senate President Ron Kouchi. US Senate photo.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono welcomed nearly 75 members of Hawai‘i’s business community to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 8, for the Third Annual Hawai‘i on the Hill Policy Summit.

Hawai‘i on the Hill, a partnership between Sen. Hirono and the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, is a two-day event in our nation’s capital that gives Hawai‘i businesses the opportunity to meet with federal officials while also showcasing Hawai‘i businesses and products to members of Congress, administration officials, and the Washington, DC, community.

Business owners representing diverse industries—including manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and others—participated in the event.

“We started Hawai‘i on the Hill three years ago to give Hawai‘i businesses a direct line to federal decision makers,” said Sen. Hirono. “I’m pleased that in our third year, we were able to connect over 50 participating businesses with top officials. I look forward to continuing these conversations on how we can support local businesses throughout the year.”

(From left) Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mazie Hirono, US Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Alexis Taylor, and Hawai‘i State Senate President Ron Kouchi. US Senate photo.

(From left) Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mazie Hirono, US Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Alexis Taylor, and Hawai‘i State Senate President Ron Kouchi. US Senate photo.

“The policy summit is a really important aspect of Hawai‘i on the Hill—it brings government representatives from different agencies to talk about some of their services and how they can help businesses in Hawai‘i,” said Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Connecting with our Congressional delegation and federal agencies is a great opportunity for Hawaii businesses to get an inside perspective from policymakers in Washington, DC, on a wide variety of issues that are important to Hawai‘i.”

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Sen. Hirono and Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara kicked off the summit, which included remarks and question and answer sessions from:

  • Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, who provided information on federal support for growing Hawaii’s international visitor industry.
  • Maura Calsyn, director of Health Policy for the Center for American Progress, who discussed the Affordable Care Act’s outlook for small businesses.
  • David Friedman, assistant secretary (acting) for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the US Department of Energy, who answered questions about Hawai‘i’s renewable energy commitments.
  • Justin Tanner of the Minority Business Development Agency and Stuart Ishimaru of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, held a small business panel to raise awareness about federal resources available to Hawai‘i’s small businesses.
  • Alexis Taylor, deputy under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the US Department of Agriculture, who discussed promoting the Hawaii brand.
  • Kimberly Vitelli, deputy administrator of the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Workforce Investment, who discussed federal funding opportunities for workforce training.
  • Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) closed out the Policy Summit by thanking Sen. Hirono for her dedication representing Hawai‘i in the US Senate, and recapping Senate Democrats’ fight for comprehensive immigration reform.
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