February 18, 2016

From Kauai to D.C.

KALAHEO — Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, is no stranger to Washington, D.C. He lived and worked there before moving to Kauai last year.

“D.C. is lacking in aloha spirit,” Perriello said Wednesday. “People there are always looking to learn about aloha, and the aloha spirit.”

They’ll get their chance this summer when Hawaii on the Hill opens in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Mazie Hirono attended a luncheon hosted by the Kauai Kookie Kitchen in Kalaheo, which will be represented at the annual gathering set for June 7 and 8.

She was joined by dozens of representatives of Kauai companies and organizations that will be participating in Hawaii on the Hill designed to showcase their products to government leaders.

Hirono said during the past three years she has been involved with Hawaii on the Hill, there has been a strong showing from Kauai.

“People always envision Hawaii as a place for tourism, but they get to see how special and unique Hawaii is for doing businesses, and the challenges faced by business in Hawaii,” she said. “It also is a forum on seeing how federal agencies can help small businesses grow.”

Jeannie Toulon of the Koloa Rum Company said they have participated in Hawaii on the Hill for the past three years. She said she was proud to be part of it.

“Last year, I went and poured more than a thousand mai tais,” Toulon said. “This year, Bob Gunter (Koloa Rum president) is planning on going, and he has to be prepared to pour more mai tais.”

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. said Hawaii on the Hill is an opportunity to bring Kauai businesses to Washington, D.C.

“Kauai was in the house,” the mayor said. “Senator Hirono has assembled an awesome team and Hawaii on the Hill is an opportunity to share Kauai, and spread the aloha spirit with key leaders in government.”

There is a deadline to participate in this year’s Hawaii on the Hill.

“Businesses and organizations need to let us know, now,” Perriello said. “If we don’t hear from them by the end of the month, they go on a wait list.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has her question on the nishime answered by 'Chef' John Ishii of the Kauai Kookie Kitchens Wednesday during a luncheon announcing the launch of the Hawaii on the Hill program.

By:  Dennis Fujimoto
Source: The Garden Island