Patsy Mink

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Patsy Mink in 1964

Patsy Takemoto Mink (born Dec. 6, 1927 in Pä'ia, Maui, died Sept. 28, 2002, in Honolulu) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii who has fought "gender and racial stereotypes for much of her life". She has worked as an attorney from 1953 to 1964, and from 1987 to 1990.[1]

Early Life

Mink was born on Maui to parents of Japanese descent.

The United States was still at war in 1944 when Patsy graduated from Maui High School as class valedictorian. She enrolled at the University of Hawaii and in her sophomore year was elected president of the Pre-Medical Students Club and chosen a member of the Varsity Debate Team. At the end of her sophomore year Patsy discovered that most of her friends were transferring to mainland colleges and universities for the fall term. Because of the war, few classmates had applied earlier for admission to schools outside of Hawai`i. In the summer of 1946 the first large exodus of students since 1941 would occur. Dismayed to learn that she would be left behind, in June Patsy decided to find a school that would admit her for the next term. Enlisting the aid of Allan Saunders, professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, she applied for admission to Wilson College, a small women’s college in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Saunders was a personal friend of the president of the college. Despite the late application, the college accepted Patsy as a transfer student for the fall semester.

The academic atmosphere at Wilson stifled Patsy. After one semester she made plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska. The college was not pleased, and she left “quietly in the dark of night” with her suitcase. For Patsy the experience at Nebraska was a watershed in her lifelong battle against discrimination. At the university she engaged in her first campaign to challenge a policy of institutional racism. A midyear transfer student, she was at first pl eased to obtain housing at International House on the campus. Her delight turn ed to anger when she discovered that the university’s housing policy segregated white students from students of color. International House was a dormitory not only for foreign students from India, Turkey, and Hong Kong; it also housed American students who were black, Asian, and Hispanic. Only white students were permitted to live in the school’s dormitories and in the fraternity and sorority houses.

Galvanized into action, Patsy began a letter-writing campaign to the university’s board of regents, to the campus newspaper, and to a local newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, to protest the policy of segregation. She gave talks, entered speech contests, and talked to anyone who would listen. She became, in her words, “the campus Mata Hari – somebody who was going to stir up trouble.” What began as a personal revolt was soon transformed into a crusade, especially when she received support from students completely unknown to her. At their suggestion she ran for president of the Unaffiliated Students of the University of Nebraska, a “separate” student government for those who did not belong to fraternities, sororities, and regular dormitories. She was elected by a landslide. That very year the board of regents rescinded the school’s discriminatory policy.


The University of Chicago in the late 1940s offered an intellectually stimulating environment, with eminent scholars in residence both at the law school and in other departments. In the first- year class with Patsy was Ed Nakamura. She also met her husband John Francis Mink, from Pennsylvania. Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney was a law school classmate of Patsy’s.

Communist Sympathizer

The FBI's file on Patsy Mink states on page one that, "...Another informant who attended the conference [13th Conference of International Relations] stated he had known Patsy Takemoto quite well and remembered her as one of a group who, during evening, sat around a campfire and sang Russian folk and revolutionary songs as well as Japanese and Chinese communistic songs. He said that in his opinion Patsy Takemoto was a communist sympathizer." Mink was also accused of being un-American during a question and answer session by a member of a panel at that conference.

It was learned that in 1956, Mink was regularly receiving the pro-communist paper, the Honolulu Record, of which Frank Marshall Davis was a contributor.[2]

Political Career

Mink was a member of the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives from 1956 to 1958. She served in the Hawaii Territorial Senate in 1959. She then served as Assistant secretary of state for oceans and international, environmental and scientific affairs from 1977 to 1978. She was a Hawaii State Senator from 1962 to 1964. She also served on the Honolulu City Council from 1983 to 1987.

U.S. House of Representatives

Mink was the first minority woman elected to Congress. She served from 1965 to 1977 and from 1990 until her death in 2002. She was posthumously re-elected in 2002 and later replaced by U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawai'i}.

Paris Peace talks

Patsy Mink, Nguyen Thi Binh, Bella Abzug

Patsy Mink and Bella Abzug in Paris met with Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh, chief delegate of the Viet Cong at the Paris peace talks. At the time, Abzug was under CIA surveillance, but Mink said agency officials had assured her that she was not being actively watched.[3]

Cuba recognition drive

In 1972, a coalition of congressmen, radical activists and some communists spearheaded a drive to relax relations with Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Under, the auspices of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.- Mass.) and Sen. Harold Hughes (D.-Iowa), a two day conference of liberal scholars assembled in April, in the New Senate Office Building to thrash out a fresh U.S. policy on Cùba.

Among congressional sponsors of the seminar were Sen. J. William Fulbright (D.-Ark.) and Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.-N.Y.), both influential members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sen. George McGovern (D.-S.D.), Rep. Bella Abzug (D~-N.Y.) and Rep. Ron Dellums (D.-Calif.).

Other sponsors included Senators Alan Cranston (D-CA), Mike Gravel (D - Alaska), Fred Harris (D - OK), Philip Hart (D - MI) and Frank Moss (D - UT)

Congressmen Joseph Addabo (D - NY), Herman Badillo ( D - NY), Alphonzo Bell (R -CA), Jonathan Bingham (D - NY), John Brademas (D -Indiana), Donald Fraser (D - Minn.), Seymour Halpern (R - NY), Lee Hamilton (D - Ind.), Michael J. Harrington (D - MA), Patsy Mink (D -HI), Parren Mitchell (D - MD), Charles Rangel (D - NY), Thomas Rees (D - CA), William Fitts Ryan (D - NY), Ogden Reid (D - NY), Benjamin Rosenthal ( D - NY), Morris Udall ( D - AZ).

Secretary of the New York State Communist Party USA, Michael Myerson was among the observers.

One panelist, John M. Cates, Jr., director of the , Center for Inter-American Relations, matter of factly remarked during the discussions: "So why are we here'? We're here so Sen. Kennedy can have a rationale to get our country to recognize Cuba."

The conference was financed by a New York-based organization called the Fund for the New Priorities in America, a coalition of groups clearly sympathetic to many pro-Communist causes.

The Fund was virtually the same group as the Committee for Peace and New Priorities, a pro-Hanoi group which bought an ad in November 1971 in the New York Times demanding Nixon set a Viet Nam withdrawal date. Both the Fund for the New Priorities and the Committee for Peace, were located at the same address in New York.[4]


In 1981 Patsy Mink was the National President of Americans for Democratic Action, an affiliate of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[5].


Mink was a member of the Honolulu Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was an outspoken opponent of nuclear tests in the Pacific.[2]

Anti Clarence Thomas delegation

In October 1991 Patricia Schroeder led a delegation of fellow congresswomen, including Louise Slaughter, Barbara Boxer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nita Lowey, Patsy Mink and Jolene Unsoeld to the Senate to urge a delay of the vote on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the supreme court.[6]

DSA endorsement


In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Patsy Mink, Hawaii 3, in that year's Congressional elections.[7]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Patsy Mink Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[8]

Clinton/Chile letter

February 24, 2000, 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sent a letter to President Clinton requesting full U.S. cooperation with the Spanish case against former Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, a thorough investigation into the car-bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and American citizen Ronni Moffitt, and the release of all U.S. documents pertaining to human rights abuses in Chile.

Dear President Clinton,
We would like to take this opportunity to commend your Administration's recent activity concerning the ongoing investigation into former Chilean General Augusto Pinochet's role in the 1976 car bombing of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C. We also appreciate your efforts to release documents pertaining to human rights abuses in Chile.

Signatories were George Miller (D-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Lane Evans (D-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Tim Roemer (D- IN), Howard Berman (D-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Mel Watt (D- NC), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Patsy Mink (D-HI), Marcy Kaptur (D- OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Tierney (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Martin Sabo (D-MN), and Bob Filner (D-CA).[9]

Committee of 100

1996: Committee of 100 Sixth Annual Conference: Washington, DC.

Conference participants included Senators Daniel Akaka, John Kerry, and Sam Nunn, U.S. Ambassador James Sasser, Representatives Doris Matsui, Patsy Mink, and Chinese Ambassador Li Daoyu. Highlight of the Conference revolved around the Committee’s background paper, “Seeking Common Ground While Respecting Differences: A Win-Win Strategy for U.S.-China Relations,” which was distributed to congressional, government, business, and academic leaders.[10]

Supportive Organizations

Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Patsy Mink in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Hawaii.[11]

EMILY's List

Mink has been supported by EMILY's List, a national Political Action Committee that supports pro-abortion Democratic women running for congress and governor.[12]


The FBI's file on Patsy Mink states on page one that, "A confidential informant furnished a list of candidates endorsed by the International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) Political Action Committee on the island of Oahu and by the Oahu Labor Council. Candidates for rep[resentative from the Fifth District included Patsy Mink." Mink regularly had the endorsement of the ILWU and was again listed on the endorsement in 1959, however in the closing days of the campaign ILWU bought newspaper space and circulated handbills attacking her. It was subsequently known that Mink and ILWU broke because she was one of the very few legislators who voted against the tax exemption for the ILWU Memorial Association Building.[2]

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[13]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..