By The Sunshine Editorial Board

June 15, 2023 |

Kanikapila in the District of Columbia: After a hiatus due to the pandemic, Hawaii on the Hill returned in fun fashion to Washington, drawing hundreds of D.C. and island dignitaries. The idea is to showcase Hawaii business, music, culture and products but also to watch Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer scarf down as many mini-Spam musubi as he can.

This year’s “Taste of Hawaii,” the eat-and-greet event that’s been a big part of Hawaii on the Hill, was held on Wednesday at the Hart Senate Office Building. It was not a disappointment. Civil Beat’s ace D.C. correspondent Nick Grube was there to snap these photos for posterity:

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chow down on the Spam musubi. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
Recognize that guy? It’s Blake Oshiro, former state House representative, Abercrombie administration veteran, legendary lobbyist and now Gov. Josh Green’s senior policy advisor. No wonder he was there! (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
That’s Hawaii’s newbie DBEDT Director Jimmy Tokioka on the left, overseeing the Kalua pork sliders table. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke sipping a beverage, probably nonalcoholic. Probably. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
Kalua pork sliders await the flock of politicos and business interests who make Taste of Hawaii one of the most popular events on Capitol Hill. It draws such a crowd they need to hold it in the same room where they vet Supreme Court nominees. But where is the mac salad? (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami hands out Koloa rum mai tais at the annual food fest. Made in Kauai! (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (that’s her in the red jacket) hosted dozens of business leaders and politicians for Hawaii on the Hill. And yes, that is the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Sherry Menor-McNamara hovering nearby. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth is getting her share of the Spam musubi. Her server is Jacob Aki, formerly with the Hawaii State Senate and now at Alaska Airlines. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)
Hmmm. Looks like Sen. Joe Manchin forgot to wear his Reyn Spooner aloha shirt. Oh, well, maybe next year, Joe. (Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2023)

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