Hawai'i State News

US senator tours Hilo, visiting hula hālau, small businesses and $4.8M paving project

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Sen. Hirono, Rep. Jill Tokuda and Mayor Mitch Roth with Lahainaluna students from the Papa Hula O Lahainaluna hālau. Photo Courtesy: Office of Sen. Hirono

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) recently spent a day in Hilo where she met with Lahainaluna students participating in the 61st Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, toured small businesses participating in this year’s 8th Hawai‘i on the Hill and viewed the Puainako Paving Project at Waiākea Intermediate School.

Sen. Hirono started the day meeting with 15 students from Lahainaluna High School on Maui who are participating in the Merrie Monarch Festival. The students are members of the Papa Hula O Lahainaluna hālau and are being hosted by the YMCA of Hawai‘i Island during their visit to Hilo.

Sen. Hirono had brunch with the students and spoke with them about how she and the rest of the Hawai‘i congressional delegation will continue working to make sure the Lahaina community has the necessary resources to heal and recover. This year’s Merrie Monarch Festival honors the people of Maui, in the wake of last year’s devastating wildfires.


Sen. Hirono then visited Big Island Coffee Roasters and Creative Arts Hawai‘i, where she met with business owners and employees and spoke with them about how they started, grew their businesses and what they expect for the future. Following these visits, Sen. Hirono, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, visited craft fair vendors at the Merrie Monarch Festival.

Following the small business visits, Sen. Hirono ended her day viewing the Puainako Street paving project near Waiākea Elementary and Intermediate schools in Hilo with representatives from the Hawaii Department of Transportation. The paving project was funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan legislation that Sen. Hirono voted to pass in 2021.

The $4.8 million project will reconstruct the lower portion of the road, improve the connections between the elementary and intermediate school parking areas, and help reduce traffic back-ups during school drop-off and pick-up times.


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