June 03, 2022

Hirono Holds Events on Oahu and Maui Focused on Supporting Families and Investing in Communities in Hawaii

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) held events this week in Hawaii focused on supporting families and investing in communities across Hawaii. Over the past week, Senator Hirono has been on Maui and Oahu, touring infrastructure projects, small businesses, and youth services providers, and meeting with teachers, child care workers, and abortion providers.

Senator Hirono is fighting to protect abortion rights and expand access to child care. She also helped pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will deliver billions of dollars in federal infrastructure investment for Hawaii, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act, which included more than $400 million in federal funding for Hawaii’s K-12 public schools.

“Over the past week, I’ve met with business owners, educators, health care providers, and others from across Hawaii. I heard about the challenges they’ve faced over the past two years and how federal assistance has helped them continue serving our communities,” said Senator Hirono. “The American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure law, and other relief bills passed under Democratic leadership have enabled Hawaii to begin recovering and rebuilding from the past two years. I’ll continue advocating for the federal policies and investments necessary to help every person and family in Hawaii thrive.”

On Tuesday, Senator Hirono was on Maui, where she toured the site of the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment Project and met with business owners and nonprofit leaders whose organization received federal relief funds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos from all three visits can be found here.

  • The Senator started her day at a section of the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment Project in Olowalu that will relocate several miles of the Honoapiilani Highway that is currently susceptible to sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Last fall, Senator Hirono helped the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) secure a $22 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to help fund the project.
  • Senator Hirono then visited Coconut’s Fish Café in Kihei, which received $2,327,164 in relief funding from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) established by the American Rescue Plan. During her visit, Hirono met with Mike Phillips, owner of Coconut’s, who told her that he would not be in business today if it weren’t for the RRF funding that enabled him to keep the restaurant open and retain 112 employees during the pandemic.
  • The Senator ended her day on Maui with a visit to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC), which received $2,925,854 in relief funding through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). The SVOG was established during the pandemic to help arts centers and live venues like MACC survive the pandemic while live performances were not safe or feasible. Thanks to the SVOG funding it received, the MACC—which was forced to temporarily close in March 2020—creatively pivoted to virtual performances to continue employing performers, technical crews, and staff until it could resume in-person programming.

On Wednesday, Senator Hirono toured youth services providers on Oahu and met with representatives from the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Photos from those events can be found here.

  • The Senator first visited the Residential Youth Services and Empowerment (RYSE) Campus, where she met with Executive Director Carla Houser and team of outreach and case managers that work to stabilize and provide a safe space for youth ages 14 to 24 to navigate their next steps to becoming self-sufficient in permanent housing. In 2019, RYSE’s Oahu Youth Board made significant contributions to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant application that resulted in a $2.7 million award and expanded Hawaii’s Coordinated Community Plan to End Youth Homelessness.
  • After visiting the RYSE campus, Senator Hirono joined We Aare Oceania (WAO) CEO Josie Howard for a tour of WAO’s Youth Empowerment Center, which provides services including mentorship, educational support, college prep, financial literacy courses, and more to local youth. Founded in 2015, WAO is a non-profit committed to centralizing the support system for all Micronesian communities, families, and individuals in Hawaii.
  • The Senator’s final meeting of the day was with Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) leaders, including President Osa Tui, Jr. and Vice President Logan Okita. Senator Hirono heard from the educators about the ongoing challenges facing teachers and students as they work to address learning loss and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation also touched on the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and school security.

On Thursday, Senator Hirono held meetings with child care advocates from People Attentive to Children (PATCH) Hawaii and abortion care providers and leaders from Planned Parenthood. Photos from both meetings can be found here.

  • Senator Hirono met with child care providers, advocates, and parents from PATCH Hawaii to discuss the shortage of quality, affordable child care in Hawaii. Last year, Senator Hirono helped pass the American Rescue Plan which included monthly Child Tax Credit payments for working families. She is also fighting to pass legislation that would cap families’ child care costs at seven percent of household income.
  • The Senator’s final meeting of the week was with reproductive health care providers from Hawaii and leaders from Planned Parenthood to hear about the challenges they face and discuss the importance of protecting abortion access in Hawaii and across the country. As the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the right to safe, legal abortion, Senator Hirono is leading the fight to codify Roe and protect abortion access and reproductive freedom for all Americans.

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