Record 7 nominations propel Kusaka to the Aloha Spirit Award

PO’IPU – Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, fittingly, was traveling abroad, promoting Kaua’i, when she was honored by the Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce, for traveling abroad and promoting Kaua’i.

She is the Chamber 2002 Aloha Spirit Award winner, and received a record seven letters of nomination for the annual honor.

Kusaka has said that part of the Kaua’i mayor’s job is to promote the island, but Chamber President Mamo Cummings said Kusaka has taken island promotion to soaring new heights, “above and beyond her regular duties.”

Kusaka has been instrumental in enticing new business to the island, and introducing the aloha spirit to people around the world, Cummings said.

“I have been on the road with her, and she is nonstop busy,” Cummings said.

Whatever her audience, Kusaka always ends conversations with “Come visit Kaua’i,” continued Cummings.

Because she is in Japan on one last promotional trip, saying “aloha” to representatives of sister cities of Kaua’i and attending various functions including the Japan-Hawaii Economic Council annual meeting, Kusaka taped her acceptance speech before leaving.

“I’m so tremendously honored to be recognized” by the Chamber, she said. Kusaka thanked Chamber members for their partnership and support, and said their collaboration with her has helped the island’s economy remain stable through some turbulent times.

That is a “testament to how hard the business community has worked,” and shows what positive things can be done when county government, business and the community at large work together.

The vision for Kaua’i, formulated by a committee that included Kusaka, came up with a simple yet meaningful island vision, she continued: “Aloha; it’s Kaua’i’s spirit.”

And people on and off the island have embraced that simple saying that means so much, she added.

Of all her accomplishments over eight years in office, Kusaka said she will always be most proud of the fact that she played a part in helping to restore island pride, and Kaua’i’s aloha spirit.

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