Join us for a (virtual) Hawaii on the Hill 2021 featuring a Talk Story with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono on November 16, followed by a Policy Summit on November 19. We are hoping to bring Hawaii on the Hill back to Washington, D.C. in 2023. Updates on Hawaii on the Hill can be found here.
Talk Story with Senator Hirono
Tuesday, November 16, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (HST)
An informal opportunity to hear from and connect with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono via live video conference.
- Welcome and Opening Remarks, Sherry Menor-McNamara
- U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono
- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader
- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
Hawaii on the Hill Policy Summit
Friday, November 19, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (HST)
Get an inside perspective from policymakers and policy experts in Washington, D.C. on a variety of issues important to businesses in Hawaii and across the country.
- Welcome and Opening Remarks, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono
- Welcome and Opening Remarks, Hawaii Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi
- Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su
- Assistant Secretary of State Daniel J. Kritenbrink
- U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Guzman
- Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves
- Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu
- Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders Krystal Kaai
- Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement Howard Ou
U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono
Mazie K. Hirono was elected to the Senate in 2012 and sworn in as Hawaii's first female senator and the country's first Asian-American woman senator. Throughout her time in the Senate, Hirono has fought on behalf of Hawaii families and communities whose voices are not often heard in Congress.
Hirono serves on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. She is also Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy.
Born in Fukushima, Japan, Hirono was nearly eight years old when her mother brought her and her siblings to Hawaii to escape an abusive husband and seek a better life. Hirono served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1981 to 1994 and earned a reputation as an advocate for consumers and workers. After being elected as Hawaii's lieutenant governor in 1994, Hirono led efforts to support Hawaii's tourism industry through visa reform. Voters in Hawaii's second congressional district elected Hirono to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader
Schumer has dedicated his career to being a tireless fighter for New York.
He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where his dad owned a small exterminating business and his mom was a housewife. He attended public school and graduated from James Madison High School before heading to Harvard University, and then Harvard Law School. Schumer has two daughters, Jessica and Alison, and he still resides in Brooklyn with his wife, Iris Weinshall.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1974, Schumer was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he soon made his mark with his trademark vigor and relentless advocacy. In 1980, at 29, he was elected as a congressman from the 9th Congressional District.
Schumer represented the 9th CD in Brooklyn and Queens for eighteen years, where he established his reputation as a consumer advocate and a pioneer in the fight against crime during the days of sky-high crime and murder rates that plagued communities throughout America.
In 1998, Schumer was elected to the U.S. Senate; he became New York's senior senator when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan retired in 2000. Schumer kicked off his first Senate term by announcing he would visit each of New York's 62 counties every year, a tradition he continues today to keep in touch with voters from every corner of the state.
In 2013, Schumer worked across the aisle to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
After New Yorkers re-elected him in 2004, Schumer secured two powerful posts: a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the nation's tax, trade, social security and healthcare legislation, and the Chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). He successfully led the DSCC for two consecutive cycles and greatly expanded the number of seats in his conference.
Following the elections of 2006, then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appointed Schumer to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference, the number three position on the Democratic Leadership team. In 2016, he was once again re-elected by the people of New York and at the same time, his colleagues elected him to serve as Leader of the Democratic Caucus, the first time a New York Senator has held the position.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
First elected to the Senate in 2006, Senator Cardin currently serves as Chair of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, which is on the forefront of rebuilding our economy. He is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Finance, and Environment & Public Works committees.
He has been a Commissioner on the U.S. Helsinki Commission since 1993, serving as Chairman of the Commission in the current 117th, as well as the 113th and 111th Congresses. From 1987-2006, Ben Cardin represented Maryland's Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served for 17 years on the Ways & Means Committee. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967-1986. During his time as Speaker from 1979-1986, he reformed Maryland's property tax system, the school financing formula and the ethical standards for elected officials.
A 1967 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law (1st in his class), he earned his B.A. degree in 1964 from the University of Pittsburgh (cum laude). He is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies' National Advisory Board and the St. Mary's College Advisory Board, Center for Study of Democracy.
Senator Cardin is married to Myrna Edelman Cardin and his daughter Deborah and son-in-law Jonathan Willis have two daughters, Madeline and Julia.
Hawaii State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi
Senator Kouchi secured his current position as President of the Hawai?i State Senate on May 5, 2015. In the past, Senator Kouchi served as Majority Caucus Leader, Vice Chair for the committee on Tourism, and Vice Chair for the committee on Ways and Means. He had also served as a member on the committees on Agriculture, Education, Transportation, and International Affairs.
Raised on Kaua?i's Westside, Senator Kouchi graduated from Waimea High School in 1975 and attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Senator Kouchi is married to the former Joy Tanimoto and they have two sons, Dan and Egan.
Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su
Julie Su was appointed by President Biden to serve as the deputy secretary of labor and confirmed by the Senate on July 13, 2021. The deputy secretary serves as the de-facto chief operating officer for the department, overseeing its workforce, managing its budget and executing the priorities of the secretary of labor.
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Labor, Deputy Secretary Su served as the secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
Deputy Secretary Su is a nationally recognized expert on workers' rights and civil rights who has dedicated her distinguished legal career to advancing justice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities and is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.
As California labor commissioner from 2011 through 2018, Deputy Secretary Su enforced the state's labor laws to ensure a fair and just workplace for both employees and employers. In 2014, she launched the first "Wage Theft Is a Crime" multimedia, multilingual statewide campaign to reach out to low-wage workers and their employers to help them understand their rights and feel safe speaking up about labor law abuses.
Prior to her appointment as California labor commissioner, Deputy Secretary Su was the litigation director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the nation's largest non-profit civil rights organization devoted to issues affecting the Asian American community.
Su has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School and began her career with a Skadden Fellowship. Su speaks Mandarin and Spanish.
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink
Daniel J. Kritenbrink became Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs on September 24, 2021. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, Kritenbrink has been an American diplomat since 1994.
Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2017-2021), Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council (2015-2017), and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (2013-2015). He also completed multiple other overseas tours in Beijing, Tokyo, Sapporo, and Kuwait City. His other Washington assignments have included Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the Department of State and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
A Nebraska native, Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink earned a master's degree at the University of Virginia, and a bachelor's degree at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Guzman
Isabella Casillas Guzman serves as the 27th Administrator of the SBA and was sworn in on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Administrator Guzman represents the more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
Administrator Guzman previously served as Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, a position she held after being appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in April 2019. In that role, she served as the voice of small businesses and innovative startups in the 5th largest economy in the world. As the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, she focused on resilience and most recently worked to help small businesses access relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In California, Administrator Guzman oversaw a network of small business centers focused on expanding assistance to underserved business groups. Guzman's office launched the Entrepreneurship Task Force to serve as a bridge to small businesses and create content and programs to help strengthen the competitiveness of startup and small firms.
Administrator Guzman has previously served in leadership at the SBA as the agency's Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she oversaw policy and new program implementation. She was a small business entrepreneur herself, and an advisor to fellow founders including in accelerating technology commercialization and in helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Administrator Guzman earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves
Don Graves is the 19th Deputy Secretary of Commerce.
Graves brings decades of experience in the private sector, government, and nonprofits to the Department of Commerce. Most recently, he served as Counselor to President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. Prior to that, Graves served as Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations at KeyBank. In this role, Graves led KeyBank’s corporate responsibility team, including the bank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, the bank’s sustainability work, stakeholder engagement, and outreach, and oversaw the KeyBank Foundation and the First Niagara Foundation.
During the Obama-Biden Administration, Graves served as Counselor and Domestic and Economic Policy Director for then-Vice President Biden. He was previously appointed by President Barack Obama as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and led the federal government’s efforts in the economic recovery of the city of Detroit. Graves also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he oversaw the CDFI Fund, the $4 billion Small Business Lending Fund, and the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative. He was also the U.S. Federal Representative to the G7 Task Force on Social Impact Investment.
He has served on the Board of Directors of the MetroHealth Foundation, the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, the Board of Trustees of the Community Reinvestment Fund, the Policy Advisory Board of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware, the Board of Visitors of the Cuyahoga Community College, the Advisory Board of the Commission on Economic Inclusion, and as Co-Chair of Cleveland Rising.
Graves has a rich family history connected to the Commerce Department. His four-times great grandparents built a successful horse and buggy taxi business in Washington that once stood at the site of the Department’s headquarters. Their son went on to own a premier hotel just blocks away and become one of our nation’s first Black patent-holders through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu
Erika was appointed by President Joe Biden in April 2021 to serve as Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison. At the White House, Erika supports the Administration on a wide array of the President's priorities and engages with AA and NHPI communities and leaders on important issues such as advancing safety, justice, inclusion, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through a whole-of-government approach to racial justice.
Her past government service includes serving as the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Secretary Julián Castro in the Obama Administration and was the first-ever Senate Deputy Legislative Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
On Capitol Hill, she was a senior representative of Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, and at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
In the non-profit sector, Erika managed two teams the National Partnership for Women & Families for economic justice and congressional relations advancing workforce and health policies focused through a gender equity and race equity lens. Erika has also led the Government Relations, Advocacy and Community Engagement team at the Anti-Defamation League, which included leading their interreligious and interfaith work.
Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement Howard Ou
Howard serves as the Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement, managing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander engagement and Veterans affairs.
He previously served on the Biden-Harris Transition Confirmations Department on core teams working to ensure successful Senate confirmations for Biden Administration Cabinet Nominees for both the Domestic and the Climate/Energy pods; and was the National AAPI & LGBTQ+ Deputy Director for the Biden for President Campaign. As congressional staff on Capitol Hill, he was most recently Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Cisneros staffing him on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, small business, racial equity, and Asia Pacific foreign policy issues, and the Congressman's co-staff lead for founding of the Congressional Military Transition Assistance Pathway Caucus. Howard was Policy and Press Advisor for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and has worked for a total of three Members of Congress from the California Delegation, including Congressman Peters and CAPAC Chairwoman Chu. Howard is a Truman National Security Project Political Partner, New Leaders Council 2020 DC Fellow and former DC Chapter Board Member, former LGBT Congressional Staff Association Service & Community Engagement Director, 2020 NAAPPA 40 under 40 honoree, OUT in National Security 2020 Leadership List honoree, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association 2020 Mark Takai Award recipient.
Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Krystal Kaai
Krystal Kaai is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). In this role, she is responsible for directing the efforts of the White House Initiative and Presidential Advisory Commission on AANHPIs and advising the Biden administration on the implementation and coordination of federal programs as they relate to AANHPIs across executive departments and agencies. Prior to joining WHIAANHPI, Krystal worked on Capitol Hill for a decade, including serving as the Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for eight years. She previously held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; the State of Hawaii, Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Krystal was born and raised in Hawaii and is the first Native Hawaiian to ever lead WHIAANHPI. She graduated with honors from Lehigh University with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Business and English.