Mazie Hirono

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Mazie Hirono

Mazie Hirono is a Democratic member of the United States Senate.

She was previously a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 2nd district of Hawaii.

Congresswoman Hirono is married to Leighton Kim Oshima.[1]


Born in Fukushima, Japan on November 3,1947, Hirono became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959, the year Hawai'i became a state. She is the first immigrant woman of Asian ancestry to be sworn into Congressional office.

Educated in Hawaii's public school system, Hirono graduated with honors from Kaimuki High School and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where she focused on public interest law.

After graduation, she returned to Hawai'i where she served as a Deputy Attorney General before entering private practice. In 1980, she was elected to the Hawai'i State House of Representatives.

In 1994, Hirono was elected and served two four-year terms as Hawaii's 9th Lieutenant Governor.[2]

Entry into public life

Mazie Hirono told

My entry into the public life, in this way, is something that came about as a result of some experiences I had as a university student - particularly getting to know some activists - anti-war activists (Vietnam). Some of the local leaders of the anti-war movement - one of them ran for office. I was his campaign chair while I was still at UH. Eventually I really began to share with the activist the idea that, 'if you want to make changes, do it from the inside,'[3]


Congresswoman Hirono serves on two key U.S. House committees: the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. In November of 2010, Democratic colleagues unanimously elected Hirono to serve on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Hirono is an executive board member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Patsy Mink relationship

"I stand on Patsy’s shoulders"

Mazie Hirono wrote an essay in 2011 detailing her debt to far left Patsy Mink.[4]

When I arrived at the Capitol in 2007 to take my oath as a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I had the privilege of filling the seat held for so long and so well by my friend Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress. I was so grateful to her.
I felt Patsy’s presence when I cast my first vote in Congress, which was to elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. I rose and said, “In memory of Patsy Mink, I cast my vote for Nancy Pelosi.” I remember Speaker Pelosi turning around in her chair upon my vote and flashing me a knowing smile. Earlier, Nancy told me that Patsy was the first person to tell her that “one day, you’re going to be speaker.” And that day had arrived!
On that occasion, there were a lot of people with tears in their eyes remembering Patsy. Many came up to me then and thereafter, sharing their stories and memories. But I am sure she wouldn’t have wanted to be idolized or put on a pedestal. Instead, she would want us to work hard to build on the legacy she left behind.

The last time I saw Patsy was in July 2002 when she was running for reelection and I was running to become Hawaii’s first female governor. She invited me to lunch and she told me, “Mazie, you just have to win.” We shared a progressive philosophy and a commitment to create opportunity for the people of Hawaii.
Last year, I was elected to the Senate — the first Asian-American woman ever to do so. As I walk to my office every morning, I know I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. I stand on Patsy’s shoulders.

Heir to Patsy Mink

In the the hotly contested '06 Hawaii 2nd Congressional District Congressional campaign, both Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono tried to invoke the legacy of Patsy Mink.

Mazie Hirono (a longtime Mink ally), had a better case to make that she was Mink's natural successor, considering they'd fought many battles together (dating back to Vietnam) and she was endorsed by Patsy's daughter, feminist scholar Wendy Mink. Hirono won that battle and the race.[5]

ILWU endorsement


In 2002, ILWU local 142 endorsed Mazie Hirono for Governor of Hawaii and Matt Matsunaga for Lieutenant Governor.

Congressional Progressive Caucus

On November 19 2008 the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced[6]its elected leadership for the 111th Congress.

Co-Chairs are Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (CA) Whip Diane Watson Vice-Chair Liaison to Black Caucus Sheila Jackson-Lee Vice-Chair Liaison to Women's Caucus Hilda Solis Vice-Chair Liaison to Asian Pacific American Caucus Mazie Hirono Vice-Chair Liaison to LGBT Equality Caucus, Dennis Kucinich

As of February 20 2009 Mazie Hirono was listed as a Vice Chair[7]of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Vietnam trip

U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat led a bipartisan delegation to monitor the work of the Department of Homeland Security in the Phillippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam, December 2012.

The trip was designed to give members of Congress a better understanding of the department's coordination with foreign governments to secure U.S.-bound cargo and work on anti-terrorism efforts and international adoption issues.

The delegation included Democratic Reps. Sam Farr, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Mike Honda and Mazie Hirono as well as Republican Rep. John Carter.

Most of the members sit on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which Price chaired.

They were scheduled to meet with Phillippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, among other foreign leaders, during the trip.[8]

Populist Caucus

The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Mazie Hirono.

Socialist financial plan

Sept. 30, 2008, the day after the original bailout compromise went down in flames. The progressive Democrats placed a new plan—the “No BAILOUTS Act” (Bringing Accountability, Increased Liquidity, Oversight, and Upholding Taxpayer Security)—on the table that John Nichols of The Nation says “would impose a securities tax equivalent to one quarter of one percent of profits and empower the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to deal more effectively with bank failures.”

The bill—sponsored by US Reps. Peter DeFazio(D-Ore.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Robert Scott (D-Va.), Elijah Cummings and Donna Edwards (both D-Md.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rush Holt, Jr.,(D NJ) —would change the way securities are valued, applying “an economic value standard to measure the capital of financial institutions,” as opposed to a market standard, an increase in the federal deposit insurance maximum and other accounting measures designed to create breathing room. It also would require the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to purchase certificates that would be repaid.

“What I’m proposing is to use both market discipline and regulatory functions at virtually no cost to taxpayers to unclog the arteries of commerce so banks can begin lending again,’’ DeFazio said, according to The Oregonian.

In a letter introducing the plan, he said that Congress needed to “take swift, uncomplicated steps to ensure the financial markets return to working order. After that, we can work to resolve the housing crisis and pass effective job stimulus.”

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said the plan would “restore confidence in the financial markets without writing a blank check to the same Wall Street banks and CEOs who got us into this mess.”

“This is an important, short-term solution that protects taxpayers and their savings accounts,” he added. “To revive the economy over the long-term, we must address rising unemployment, stagnant wages, the healthcare crisis, and a tax system that is tilted in favor of the wealthy.”

DeFazio and the SEIU acknowledge that this is just the first step toward fixing the economy. Once a progressive rescue plan is in place, the Democrats create a rescue plan for homeowners facing foreclosure, enact a public works and green energy stimulus to get people working, fix the nation’s infrastructure and refocus the nation’s economy on sustainable principles. [9]

ILWU speech

September 19, 2012, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mazie Hirono delivered the following speech, as prepared for delivery, at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142’s annual State Convention;

“Aloha, I have known many of you for a long time, as friends and as supporters. Mahalo to Donna Domingo, Wes Furtado and Guy Fujimura for this invitation! I would also like to thank you, the men and women of this union – you have and continue to contribute so much to our state’s well-being.
“It is your union, the ILWU, which in the 1940s, 50s and 60s fought hard for civil rights and social justice. Your union helped shape our history in Hawaii. You have always fought for those without a political voice – a long and proud struggle for:

* equal pay for equal work;
* healthcare for all;
* race and gender equality;
* safe working conditions; and,
* a public education system founded on the principle that education is the great equalizer and that every child should be given the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.
“You and I believe in these Democratic principles. And, that’s why I’m running for the United States Senate - to bring our voice and our Hawaii values to DC.

“Which is why if I have the honor of serving as your next U.S. Senator I will stand with you and fight for you every day because ‘we ARE in this together.’
“If given the opportunity to serve as your next U.S. Senator, I would honor the tradition forged by your leaders: Harry Bridges, Jack Hall, Harry Kamoku, Koji Ariyoshi, Tommy Trask, Harriet Bouslog and Ah Quon McElrath.

2012 CLW Senate victories

2012 Council for a Livable World Senate Victories were;

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT) Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[10]

The Council said of Hirono when they endorsed her in 2012;

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawaii in 1970 with a B.A. in psychology, she worked in a variety of government jobs, and then earned a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1978. She got involved in politics because of her opposition to the Vietnam War and her desire to help Senator George McGovern (D-SD) become President.
She first entered elective politics in 1980 when she won a seat in the Hawaii State House of Representatives. In 1994, Hirono was elected and served two four-year terms as Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor. Elected to Congress in 2006, she is now serving her third term. She has scored an average of 88% on the Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC voting record. She supported legislation to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, opposed increased nuclear weapons funding, rejected efforts to cut United Nations funding, and was in the perceptive minority that opposed the U.S.-India nuclear deal.
Mazie Hirono will be a strong, progressive addition to the United States Senate who will work to stem the anti-arms control and anti-government forces that dominate the Republican Party.[11]

Council for a Livable World, 50th Anniversary

On June 6, 2012, Council for a Livable World, along with its sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding by Leo Szilard in 1962.

An evening celebration was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Congressman Barney Frank acted as the Master of Ceremonies and, in the process, received a lifetime achievement award from former Rep. Tom Downey, a member of the Council’s Board of Directors. The Robert F. Drinan Peace and Human Award was presented to former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman David Bonior and the late Edith Wilkie, a longtime advocate and leader for peace and justice.

Over 225 people attended to celebrate the Council’s legacy of working to advocate for sensible national security policies and helping to elect congressional candidates who support those policies.

Other notables included Hawaii Senate candidate Mazie Hirono (D), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), former Sen. Tim Wirth (D-CO) and former Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI).[12]

Filibuster reform

The Communications Workers of America is to make filibuster reform a top cause and they're trying to bring the rest of the union movement along. The union reiterated that goal in post-election comments.

"The 2012 election makes the reform even more paramount," it said. "Seven Democratic senators-elect - Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) - have all already pledged to Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., to support rules reform. And Maine's Independent candidate, former Gov. Angus King won on a platform included filibuster reform as a major campaign issue.

"The American people want their elected officials to debate and address the major issues of our time and to move past obstruction for obstruction's sake," added CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson.[13]



With U.S. student debt estimated at $1 trillion, college activists lobbied Congress for relief March 2013, during the United States Student Association's annual legislative conference (LegCon). More than 300 students gathered for the three-day event packed with workshops, trainings and visits to congressional representatives.

In a church filled with over 500 people, USSA activists joined with immigrant and women's rights organizations and elected officials, including Sen. Mazie Hirono, D.-Hawaii, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., speaking out for the rights for and visibility of immigrant women.[14]

Fred Ross award campaign

In early 2013, mainly Democratic Socialists of America aligned activists, together with many elected officials across the United States came together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross, Sr.. The Saul Alinsky trained radical was the first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and DSAer Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter outreach since 1949 when he helped elect Communist Party USA affiliate Ed Roybal as Los Angeles’s first Latino council member, "Ross’ influence on social change movements remains strong two decades after his death in 1992".

Congressional endorsers of the proposal included Mazie Hirono.[15]

South Korea, China, Japan trip

Four members of Congress traveled to South Korea, Japan and China, September 2013, during a summer recess, congressional sources said Wednesday.

They are Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), and Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Dan Benishek, a Republican from Michigan.

"All of them are symbolic figures in the 113th Congress in terms of representing minority groups," a source said. "Also, they have a good understanding on Korea."

Gillibrand is said to have potential to become a political star like Hillary Clinton, one of her close associates.

Hirono, a Buddhist born in Japan, is the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

Meng, a Chinese-American, is the first Asian-American from New York to be elected to Congress.

Sewell is the first black woman elected to Congress from Alabama.

Another source said some of them may meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the country's first female president, during their visit.[16]

Before continuing to Asia, the delegation will stop today in Alaska to host a roundtable on military sexual assaults with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). The roundtable will feature military officials and survivors of sexual assaults. Hirono has joined Gillibrand, a fellow member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in unveiling legislation to help prevent and prosecute sexual assaults in the military.[17]

APALA connection


Mazie Hirono was a keynote speaker at the August 2013, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance 12th Biennial convention in Las Vegas.

EMILY's List

Hirono has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.


The following have worked as staff members for Mazie Hirono:[18]

External links