By Peter Zampa

Hawaii leaders are taking to Capitol Hill in Washington this week for their annual “Hawaii on the Hill” gathering. It is a time to eat local delicacies, and also a time for unfinished business.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami says he is using the opportunity to discuss local issues that could benefit from federal government assistance. One issue close to his heart is flood recovery efforts for his island.

“Our Congressional delegation has the ability to open doors for us so we can make with some of those top decision makers,” said Kawakami.

While Kauai’s mayor is looking for assistance to help his communities recover, other Hawaii leaders are looking to show their state is open for business.

“We bring all the different islands businesses together to show what Hawaii is all about. All the different industries that we have in Hawaii and how it plays a part in the nation’s economy,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara.

These local leaders say they rely on their federal representatives to help them out back home.

“People come here to experience Taste of Hawaii, they like our products, they like our stuff, they like our people, they like getting the lei,” said Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

Hirono hosted the event to which 1,000 people RSVP’d. Any other day the Hart Senate Office Building room is one reserved for important hearings. On this Wednesday, it was a Hawaiian oasis away from political mayhem and the hottest ticket on Capitol Hill. Hirono credits the spirit of aloha.

“It’s very special. That’s why they come. In droves!” said Hirono.

Hirono says she plans to keep Hawaii on the Hill alive as long as it continues to help her state’s businesses.

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