Inouye Staffer Erin Masui to Represent Hawai’i in Nat’l Cherry Blossom Festival

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye announced Feb. 1 that a member of his Washington staff, Erin Masui, has been selected by the Hawaii State Society of Washington, D.C., to represent Hawaii during this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival.

“Erin is an intelligent and capable young lady, and she will be an outstanding goodwill ambassador. I know her parents, family, friends, and coworkers are very proud of her, and so am I,” Senator Inouye said.

Senator Daniel K. Akaka added: “I am well aware of Erin’s professionalism and dedication, as she interned in my Washington office during the summer of 2004. She is a great example of Hawaii’s multiculturalism and our culture of openness and understanding; similarly, those values are a cherished part of the unique traditions of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.”

Masui, 23, who now serves as Senator Inouye’s Legislative Correspondent and Staff Assistant, said: “This is a special honor. I will do my best to represent Hawaii, and to promote international understanding and friendship.”

Masui, the daughter of Stanford and Doretta Masui, was born and raised in Honolulu. She is a graduate of Punahou School, and the University of Washington, where she was a Dean’s List student who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and English. Prior to joining Senator Inouye’s staff in July 2006, Ms. Masui served as a legislative aide to Hawaii State Representative Marcus Oshiro when he was House Majority Leader.

At the University of Washington, Masui studied in London during her junior year. Through a special university program, she worked as a legislative and press intern in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington for three months during her senior year.

From the age of six through her senior year at Punahou, Masui danced with Hawaii State Ballet. She also performed with the Punahou Dance Schoolduring her junior year of high school.

The 2007 National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 95th anniversary of the City of Tokyo’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the people of Washington, D.C., and serves as an enduring symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States. The weeklong festival begins on Sunday, April 8, 2007.

During the festival, Masui and the princesses representing other states and several other countries will participate in educational, leadership, and cultural activities that nurture international relationships and cultural exchanges. At the conclusion of the festival, one of the princesses will be selected as the United States Cherry Blossom Queen.

The United States Cherry Blossom Princess program is sponsored by the National Conference of State Societies along with individual state societies that select young women based on their leadership, academic achievements, and their interests in community and international affairs.

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