Skip to content

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Hirono Visits Akaka VA Clinic Construction Site, Meets with Kapolei Small Businesses and CNHA

HONOLULU, HI – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) visited the construction site for the Daniel Kahikina Akaka VA Clinic, followed by a visit to the Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center in Kapolei and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) Emergency Assistance Center and Pop-Up Makeke Warehouse.

The Senator began her day with a visit to the construction site for the Daniel K. Akaka VA Clinic. Earlier this month, President Biden signed into law legislation introduced by Senator Hirono to name the new clinic after the late Senator Akaka. Video of Senator Hirono discussing her tour can be found here. 

“During his tenure in the Senate, and as chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka was a strong advocate on behalf of veterans in Hawaii,” said Senator Hirono. “Today I visited the new site—which I’m proud is now named after Senator Akaka—to get an update on the clinic’s construction and the services it will provide. Once finished, it will provide critical health care for our veterans living not only in Hawaii, but throughout the Pacific region, and will help expand Tripler Army Medical Center’s capacity to serve veterans as well. I am honored to continue Senator Akaka’s work to serve and support veterans on Oahu and across Hawaii.”

After visiting the construction site, Senator Hirono headed to Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center to visit multiple women-owned small businesses and meet with small businessowners. She spoke to these businesses about the challenges they have faced as a result of the pandemic. Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis so they can continue to serve communities across the state. 

“Over the last two years, we have seen the negative impact the pandemic has had on small businesses in Hawaii and across the country,” said Senator Hirono. “Now, with supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages, small businesses and business owners are still fighting to recover. I am dedicated to working to ensure that funding is made available and effectively used to provide relief during these challenging times. I will continue to support and advocate on behalf of our local shops, restaurants, and other small businesses.”

Senator Hirono also visited the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) Emergency Assistance Center and Pop-Up Makeke Warehouse. A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Native Hawaiian communities, CNHA’s mission is to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. Pop-Up Makeke is one of their many initiatives—it is an online marketplace that allows people to shop from hundreds of Hawaii’s small businesses in one convenient location. 

“CNHA offers a robust list of programs and resources to support Native Hawaiian communities across the islands,” said Senator Hirono. “They offer crucial services to these communities, such as financial assistance for housing and workforce development training, and they also work to promote local businesses and entrepreneurs. I will continue my efforts to advance legislation, secure federal funding, and work with organizations like CNHA to support Native Hawaiian communities.”

A member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Hirono is committed to supporting our nation’s veterans. She helped negotiate and recently voted to pass the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to expand VA health care for veterans with health conditions related to burn pit and Agent Orange exposure. In March, Senator Hirono 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.

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In March, she successfully advocated for the Biden Administration to extend COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan relief for small businesses. Last year, she urged U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzman to ensure SBA was prioritizing pandemic relief for underserved businesses.

Senator Hirono is a longstanding champion of programs to support Hawaii’s indigenous, Native Hawaiian community. In 2020, the University of Hawaii received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to expand education programs focused on food, agriculture, and natural resources – this funding enabled Native Hawaiian-serving institutions to promote educational equity for underrepresented students, expand education programs, and provide job training in these fields. Last September, the Department of Education awarded over $28 million in grants through the Native Hawaiian Education Program (NHEP) to provide assistance to several educational, community-based, and other similar organizations in Hawaii.

Photos of the Senator’s visits can be found here