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Kauai on Capitol Hill

About 25 of Kauai’s industry leaders will be showcased at the second annual Hawaii on the Hill event in Washington, D.C., this week.

The event, spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), is one of many hosted by different states to promote their key industries to policy makers.

Kauai businesses such as Kauai Kookie, Kauai Coffee Company and Koloa Rum Company will join 60 other Hawaii businesses representing the state Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The goal is to showcase Hawaii as a state at the nation’s capitol, in particular, policy and decision makers in D.C. on various industry sectors in Hawaii,” said Randall Francisco, specialist and film commissioner at the Office of Economic Development County of Kauai and former Kauai Chamber of Commerce president. “We focused last year and this year on Kauai manufacturing, especially because there are iconic Kauai brands … that we wanted to highlight.”

Jay Robertson, Kauai Chamber of Commerce board chair, said the event “is an excellent opportunity to develop support systems for growing business on Kauai.”

“It is a showcase for our manufacturing and services we do provide,” he said. “But it really is more important that we are able to work with our congressional delegation and show them and demonstrate that any federal assistance and programs that come our way really turn tangible benefits for everybody on the island.”

Robertson said that historically, Kauai has “enjoyed federal funding and support.”

“When the federal government supports our economy, supports our growing small businesses, then we reap the true benefits because it creates jobs, create products and stimulates everything that we do in terms of growing a stronger, healthier business climate,” he said.

Wayne Katayama, Kauai Coffee Company president and general manager, said the visit to Washington will demonstrate to lawmakers his company’s commitment to using domestically made products.

“Our message to the legislators in Washington, D.C., is that although our industry is relatively small, we are still the largest coffee-growing region domestically,” he said. “For Kauai Coffee, we use many of the products from the U.S. — our packaging, our bags, boxes, even our clips that we use are sourced from the U.S.”

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