(BIVN) – The U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a U.S. Small Business Administration oversight hearing today, and the Democratic senator from Hawaiʻi used the opportunity to talk about the destructive 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano.
While speaking to U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon at today’s hearing, Senator Mazie Hirono highlighted the importance of continued disaster relief for Hawaiʻi businesses and homeowners. According to Hirono, the SBA has awarded roughly $48 million to more than 500 survivors affected by natural disasters in 2018.
Administrator McMahon was on Hawaiʻi Island in December 2018 for the Western Governors’ Association Winter Meeting at the Fairmont Orchid. McMahon addressed the state executives during the event.
From Sen. Hirono’s remarks, delivered today in committee:
“Last year Hawaii was impacted by several natural disasters—including severe storms, floods, and mudslides; volcanic eruptions and earthquakes; and hurricanes. These disasters displaced homeowners, disrupted businesses, and had an enormous impact on individuals and families in our communities, as well as state and local resources. Even today, people in my state are still working to recover from these disasters.
“To date, roughly 500 disaster survivors in Hawaii—including business-owners; individuals and families; and homeowners—have received more than $48 million in disaster assistance from the SBA—primarily through the SBA’s low-interest disaster loan programs.
“Yesterday afternoon I had a chance to meet with local directors from Hawaii Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) that provide business counseling services for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including those who may be recovering from natural disasters. The representatives reiterated the challenges businesses in the state faced last year related to natural disasters, and were appreciative of the SBA’s coordinated efforts to support local communities dealing with natural disasters.
“As an island state, Hawaii is especially vulnerable to natural disasters, including disasters like volcanic eruptions, and I hope we can continue working together to make sure local businesses and homeowners in Hawaii receive the support they need in 2019.”
Hirono appears to have a good relationship with Trump’s SBA Administrator. The Senate Democrat even invited McMahon to attend the annual Hawaiʻi On The Hill event.