By Sandy Harjo-Livingston

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaiʻi on the Hill event is organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi. It is meant to give small business owners access to congressional leaders and Washington officials.

There are also showcases of island products and gatherings meant to connect kamaʻāina abroad with opportunities and jobs.

“Many small businesses are still struggling. The many that attended Hawaiʻi on the Hill in the past are still recovering from the pandemic,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi. “But to see that Hawaiʻi on the Hill has come back in bigger, bolder, better and more businesses, just resonates.”

At the event is 95-year-old Mabel and 97-year-old Norman Hashisaka from Kauaʻi Kookie.

They are amongst the 80 businesses that made the long journey to represent the best of Hawaiʻi’s small businesses in Washington D.C. through the week.

“We’re having a real party atmosphere here; but it’s not all about the party,”
said Ann Hashisaka, CEO, Kauaʻi Kookie. “It’s about bringing Hawaiʻi to the hill. And my mother was a real believer from the very beginning.”

On Tuesday, June 13, there will be a fireside chat and talk story event with Senator Mazie Hirono. The moderator will be Sherry Menor-McNamara, CoC Hawaii President and CEO.

This event is set up to allow attendees the opportunity to hear directly from Sen. Hirono. She will be discussing her work in the United States Senate to push support toward Hawaiʻi businesses and communities. There will be a Q&A session.

On Wednesday, June 14, a Hill Policy Summit will be hosted by Sen. Hirono. Sen. Hirono, Sherry Menor-McNamara and Hawaiʻi State Senate President Ron Kouchi will moderate the summit.

It will feature Congressional leaders and members of the Biden-Harris Administration who will be there to provide insights on the many issues that businesses in Hawaiʻi and across the country consider important. This event will be livestreamed.

Taste of Hawaiʻi on Capitol Hill will take place later in the day and will be hosted by Sen. Hirono and CoC Hawaiʻi. Sen. Hirono indicated that this event is meant to immerse Members of Congress and their staff in Hawaiʻi’s culture through cuisine, music and more.

Some of the exhibitors will include Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau, Hawaiian Chip Company, Kauaʻi Kookie, Koloa Rum, Lappert’s Hawaiʻi, Maui Brewing, The Orchid Lei Company and the University of Hawaiʻi.

On Thursday, June 15, the CoC Hawaii is joining Hawaiʻi State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole in hosting Kamaʻāina Career Connect. This is a networking event for residents of Hawaiʻi who currently live in Washington D.C. and are interested in returning to Hawaiʻi to work.

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