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Sen. Hirono visits construction site of the future Daniel Kahikina Akaka VA Clinic

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Senator Hirono tours the construction site of the Daniel Kahikina Akaka VA Clinic.

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) visited the construction site for the future Daniel Kahikina Akaka VA Clinic on Oʻahu, Thursday.

Earlier this month, President Biden signed into law legislation introduced by Senator Hirono to name the new clinic after the late Sen. Akaka.

“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 Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. 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.”

She said that once finished, it will provide critical health care for veterans living not only in Hawaiʻi, 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 Oʻahu and across Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. Hirono in a press release.

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As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Hirono helped negotiate and recently voted to pass the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, to expand VA health care for veterans with health conditions related to burn pit and Agent Orange exposure. 

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In March, Senator Hirono helped pass in the Senate bipartisan legislation to expand access to breast cancer screening and care for veterans. She 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; and she introduced the Every Veteran Counts Act directing the VA to establish and regularly update a database of veterans’ demographic data.

After visiting the construction site, Senator Hirono headed to Ka Makana Aliʻi 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 Hawaiʻi’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 Hawaiʻi 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.”

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Senator Hirono also visited the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s Emergency Assistance Center and Pop-Up Mākeke Warehouse. A nonprofit 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 Mākeke is one of their many initiatives—it is an online marketplace that allows people to shop from hundreds of Hawaiʻi’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.”

Sen. Hirono vowed to continue efforts to advance legislation, secure federal funding, and work with organizations like CNHA to support Native Hawaiian communities.

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