June 07, 2022

Hirono Bill Naming ALOHA VA Clinic For Senator Daniel K. Akaka Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Joseph R. Biden signed into law legislation introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) to name the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) VA clinic—which is currently under construction on Oahu—after the late former Hawaii Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka. During his time in the Senate, Senator Akaka first spearheaded the project working alongside Hawaii veterans.  

“Throughout his decades of public service, including as chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka was a determined champion for veterans in Hawaii,” said Senator Hirono. “I’ve been honored to help continue the work he began to build a new health care facility for Oahu veterans, especially those living on the leeward side of the island, and I’m grateful that President Biden has signed into law our bill to name the clinic in Senator Akaka’s honor. Senator Akaka once said that caring for veterans is ‘one of our most sacred obligations as a nation,’ and this clinic will help provide that care for veterans in Hawaii. I’ll continue working to ensure all of our veterans get the high-quality care and support they deserve.”

“It is my honor to sign a bill that will name the new VA outpatient clinic that will be built in Hawaii after a dear friend of mine and a former Senate colleague who I worked with – Danny Akaka,” said President Biden at the signing ceremony. “Danny was a great friend, he was an Army veteran in World War II and a former Chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs. One of the finest people I ever served with, he really was a man of great honor and integrity.”

In March 2021, Senator Hirono and Congressman Kai Kahele secured authorization for the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide approval to award a 15-year lease at an annual rent of $5.9 million for the ALOHA project. It also authorizes an up-front lump sum payment of $18 million to facilitate construction of the facility. When completed, the ALOHA Project will be a 66,000 foot multispecialty VA clinic in Leeward Oahu and provide primary care, mental health, audiology, women veterans care, physical and occupational therapy, dental, prosthetics, and specialty care for veterans in the area. The clinic will also reduce wait times, increase provider availability, and help alleviate traffic challenges and parking deficits veterans currently experience on the Tripler Army Medical Center campus, where the Spark M. Matsunaga Veterans Affairs Medical Center is located.

In Congress, Senator Akaka served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and worked to expand access to GI Bill benefits, bring recognition to Asian-American WWII veterans, and secure one-time compensation for the Philippine Scouts, among other things.

A member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Hirono is committed to supporting our nation’s veterans. In March, she helped pass in the Senate bipartisan legislation to expand access to breast cancer screening and care for veterans. Hirono also introduced the Veterans and Family Information Act which required the VA to make information more accessible for non-English language speakers, enabling veterans and their families to better understand the benefits, programs, and resources available to them. She also introduced the Every Veteran Counts Act directing the VA to establish and regularly update a database of veterans’ demographic data. This would allow for better understanding and accommodation of the needs of veterans from every race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Photos of the bill signing can be found here