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]


The turning point for Hirono came in the summer of 1968. She was one of 10 University students chosen by the YWCA to live and work in Waimanalo with at-risk kids.

“They were all activists and war protesters,” says Hirono. “Nine of them had been arrested during the famous Bachman Hall sitin.”

Former state legislator and DOE staffer Kate Stanley was a Volunteer in Service to America in Waimanalo that summer.

“That YWCA group and the VISTA volunteers were working with all these kids who had nothing,” says Stanley. “They were drug abusers, paint sniffers. They were kids who didn’t believe they had a future.

“That summer Mazie saw a whole bunch of people she had never seen before. Remember, she had gone to Koko Head Elementary, which was a good, upper-middle class school, but right around the curve in Waimanalo was a different world.

“And Mazie stood out in that group of university students. You could tell she wasn’t there just to have fun.”

Hirono emerged from that summer an activist, protesting the war in Vietnam and turning her attention increasingly toward politics. She took her bachelor’s degree from the university in 1970 and spent the next five years working at the Legislature and participating in other people’s campaigns for elective office.

Among those she campaigned for in the early ‘70s were David Hagino, Anson Chong, and Carl Takemura (today her congressional chief of staff). Hirono worked a session or two in Chong’s legislative office. “I remember her in those days,” says Gene Awakuni, currently the chancellor of the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. “Mazie was smart and well-organized.”[3]

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,'[4]

That was in 1970. She was involved in a very active group at the University.

She was heavily influenced by Betty Friedan's "Feminist Mystique".[5]


Hirono serves on the Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and am the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power.[6]

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.

Senate U.S.-China Working Group

In 2021 the Senate U.S.-China Working Group was co-chaired by by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).[7]

Nine U.S. Senators Visit Bien Hoa


On April 20, 2019, Vietnam and the U.S. recorded a significant milestone on Agent Orange when Senator Patrick Leahy led a Congressional Delegation of nine U.S. senators to Bien Hoa, a city 20 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The senators witnessed the signing of a five year $50 million Memorandum of Intent to assist children and young Vietnamese born with disabilities linked to exposure of a parent, grandparent or great grandparent to Agent Orange/dioxin. The delegation also took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a ten year $300 million project to clean up dioxin residues left by Agent Orange at the Bien Hoa Airbase.

Delegates wer Senators Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin, Tim Kaine, Tom Udall.

Cited Francesca Tripodi at Hearing on Big Tech Hearing on anti-Conservative Bias

Ted Cruz hearing on Tech Censorship of Conservatives

Mazie Hirono cited Francesca Tripodi's research during a hearing chaired by Senator Ted Cruz related to anti-conservative bias in big tech. Mazie Hirono said mainstream media treats Republicans better than democrats, says there is no anti-conservative bias on social media and chided that conservatives should consider their content is being removed from Big Tech because they are posting lies about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts and misrepresenting (presumably) Islam.

Compilation of Mazie Hirono's comments at a hearing chaired by Senator Ted Cruz related to anti-conservative bias in big tech:

"There are many areas where the senate should be conducting oversight of the tech industry. Baseless allegations of anti-conservative bias is not one of them...The alt-right continues to use Twitter to organize and spread of anti-conservative bias that have been disproven time and again. One of our witnesses, Professor Francesca Tripodi studies partisanship on social media and finds that conservative perspectives abound on Facebook, Google and Twitter. She describes claims of anti-conservative bias as nothing more than a mix of anecdotal evidence which the chairman has acknowledged* and a failure to understand the companies' algorithms and content-moderation practices. Professor Tripodi's conclusions are consistent with those of ,media watchdog Media Matters and others that 'anti-conservative bias simply does not exist.'
"The strategy has worked. Research shows that major news outlets have over-compensated for the perceived liberal bias by treating democrats more harshly than Republicans.
"If conservatives have had their content removed, maybe they should look at the content - at the content! - that they're posting. Maybe they shouldn't post lies about Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts. Maybe they shouldn't inflame religious tensions by misrepresenting the tenants of one of the world's major religions.
"I hope that going forward, this subcommittee would focus on the real issues facing America like Hate Speech, like voter suppression, like looking into the emoluments clause."
  • Senator Ted Cruz spoke of how much of the evidence is "anecdotal" because there is a lack of transparency in data from big tech companies.

Patsy Mink relationship

Patsy Mink was Hirono's friend and mentor.

"I stand on Patsy’s shoulders"

Mazie Hirono wrote an essay in 2011 detailing her debt to far left Patsy Mink.[8]

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.[9]

Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee

Hirono also founded the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee to raise money for Democratic women, who support abortion rights, seeking state office. Of the eight candidates the committee supported in 2004, seven were elected.

"I relate very much to Patsy," Hirono said, citing Mink's commitment to creating equal opportunities in education and justice.

Mink's daughter, Wendy Mink, and brother, Eugene Takemoto, have publicly endorsed Hirono in radio ads and mailers. A direct mailing they both signed reads: "We decided to support Mazie because she so embodies the commitment to public service that our beloved sister and mother always had."[10]

Supporting Tokuda

Mazie Hirono founded the Patsy Mink Political Action Committee.

“After Patsy’s death, I went to John Mink to get his permission to use her name,” says Hirono. “We raise money to help Democratic, pro-choice women running for state office in Hawaii.”

Hirono cites freshman state Sen. Jill Tokuda as one of the successful candidates the committee supported in 2006.[11]

Nakamura connection

Having made the slow transition from political outsider in the 1950s to insider in the 1970s, then having taken a long sabbatical from capitol politics as a justice, Ed Nakamura was free [in his retirement] to reinvent himself in political terms. He returned to the State Capitol for the 1991 legislative session, working part-time as a volunteer in the office of Democratic Rep. Dwight Takamine, chair of the House Labor Committee and son of the ILWU’s Yoshito Takamine. He also became better acquainted with a network of younger legislators.

One of these younger lawmakers was Mazie Hirono, who would cast herself in the tradition of Nakamura’s friend and classmate, Patsy Mink. In 1991, Hirono represented a midtown House district and chaired the House Consumer Protection Committee, which worked closely with the Labor Committee on such issues as worker’s compensation, a hot item during this period.

Hirono said, “He had perspective on where Democrats came from and what they stood for. I liked the fact that here was a guy who had fought many battles.” Nakamura eventually helped organize Hirono’s successful campaign for lieutenant governor in 1994.[12]

ILWU endorsement


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

Kerry Edwards effort

Hirono co-chaired the Hawai'i Women for Kerry Edwards effort in 2002.[13]

Iraq War

Since 2002, Hirono has returned to Japan as a guest lecturer at universities in Kyoto and Tokyo, talking to students about the U.S. actions in Iraq, among other subjects.[14]

Radical support


Amy Agbayani joined Mazie Hirono's gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

Union rally

Legendary labor leader Ah Quon McElrath issued a "a call to action" before a Labor Day crowd in light of local union unrest and corporate disdain toward workers. "Unions are still the only organization that gives (workers) some power to control their working condition," McElrath said. "... The future can be yours. Seize it through solidarity and unity."

McElrath, an 86-year-old University of Hawai'i regent, helped organize the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the 1930s and cemented her status with Hawai'i unions during the sugar and dock strikes of the 1940s.

At the rally she urged the 200 or so people gathered around the Kapi'olani Park bandstand to "preserve that which we have gained and move ahead with new ideas in light of the massive changes in our political economy."

Waving an ILWU hand fan from a convertible, McElrath was the grand marshal of the Labor Day parade, which included more than 20 Hawai'i unions. Dozens of union members rode and walked from Magic Island through Waikiki and ended at Kapi'olani Park with an old-fashioned labor rally.

The parade featured the Pearl City High School marching band, political candidates shaking hands, a military color guard, ILWU members riding motorcycles and even a city garbage truck retrofitted with a gigantic plywood American flag.

Gordon Lafer, an organizer for ILWU Local 142, joined nearly 200 ILWU workers and retirees who marched through the streets of Waikiki to occasional shakas and honking car horns. "Unions have done so much for the people of Hawai'i," Lafer said. "But there is so much more to fight."

In her speech, McElrath recounted global labor history through her eyes and urged local union organizers and members to strive for better. "The job can be done," she said. "It was done in the past. There is no reason it cannot be done again."

Beforehand, McElrath said organizers particularly needed to register union members to vote. "It's a crucial time because of the elections," she said, "and it's a crucial time for the dockworkers and hotel workers and airline workers."

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawai'i) and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, a Democratic candidate for governor, were more overt in speeches connecting unions to the upcoming governor's race. Abercrombie especially mocked the positions of Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle as running counter to benefits that have gone to union members for the last 50 years.

Hirono said the Democratic Party had always "stood toe to toe, side to side with labor," and expressed concern about speaking to business people who say "labor's too strong in Hawai'i." "What we need to do is work together," Hirono said. "Labor, business, government, working together. That is the new paradigm of the 21st Century."[15]

Peace Pledge Coalition

In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson,,, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Mazie Hirono signed the letter.[16][17]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Mazie Hirono. [18]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

On November 19 2008 the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced[19]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[20]of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

In May 2013, Mazie Hirono was listed as a member the Executive Board of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.[21]

Honorary Board Asian American Action Fund

Circa 2013, Mazie Hirono served on the Honorary Board of the Asian American Action Fund;[22]

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.[23]

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. [24]

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).[25]


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.[26]

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).[27]

CLW 2018

Mazie Hirono (D-HI) for Senate was endorsed in 2018 by Council for a Livable World.

Senator Hirono (D-HI) gives new meaning to the American Dream. Born in Japan, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1955 with her mother to escape an abusive marriage. In 2012, Mazie Hirono became the first Asian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate.

For years, Senator Hirono has been a progressive national security champion. She was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer and underwent surgery, but quickly returned to her Senate duties.

Senator Hirono strongly endorsed the Iran deal, saying that the deal “has gained broad national and international support, including 29 top American nuclear scientists, of which six are Nobel laureates. This agreement is the best option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapon program.” [28]

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.[29]


According to Jane Yoo, NAKASEC, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles participated in the April 10th 2013 “Time Is Now” rally for citizenship and immigration reform. Thousands of immigrants and supporters from across the country gathered to call on Congress for a swift introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Among the participants was 17 year old Faustin Combe, a FYSH and KRCC member from Chicago who shared her painful story of being separated from her father and brother who are currently in the Philippines. Joining her was HyunKyu Lee, a recent DACA recipient, undocumented youth and organizer with KRC who also spoke in Asian American and Pacific Islander press conference with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Senator Mazie Hirono and Reps. Judy Chu Congressman Mike Honda.

During the main immigration rally, Son Ah Yun, executive director of NAKASEC spoke to the crowd about the impacts of the broken immigration system on Asian American communities and the need for immigration reform. She said, “We are tired of being separated from our families through long backlogs and deportations. We are tired of women being an afterthought. We are tired of our young people unable to go to school. We are tired of immigrants being treated as criminals and living in fear.”

In the morning, NAKASEC participants also delivered 1,267 signatures in support of family unity to offices of the “Gang of 8” Senators, as well as to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), John Campbell (R-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).[30]



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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33]

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.[34]

ARA connections

Congratulating Hamai


Elder endorsements

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono with Hawaii Alliance leaders - L-R: Justin Wong, Jean Dobashi, Rep. Hirono, Al Hamai, September 12, 2011

In 2012 Hirono was endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare as well as the Alliance for Retired Americans.[35] ·

2012 ARA convention

The Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans’s (HARA’s) 4th Biennial Convention was held in Honolulu January 2012, with about seventy delegates and guests attending. Three members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation addressed the convention--U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D), whom HARA presented with their Shining Light Award for his 35 years of distinguished service in Congress; Rep. Mazie Hirono (D); and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D). Conference attendees also heard from Richard Fiesta, Director of the national Alliance’s Department of Government and Political Affairs, and several other well-received speakers. The delegates elected Justin Wong as the new HARA President. The new Vice President is Elmer Yuen; Jackie Foil was reelected Secretary; and Phyllis Hiramatsu was reelected Treasurer.[36]

ARA endorsement

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Mazie Hirono in 2012.[37]

Asian American Action Fund supported candidate

In the 2012 election, Mazie Hirono was supported by the Asian American Action Fund.[38]

APALA connection


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

New staffers

In January 2013, Hirono announced two new hires. Betsy Lin will serve as Chief of Staff and Jadine Nielsen as Acting State Director. Nielsen will also lead the search for a permanent State Director.[39]

Staffer's Cuba trip

Hirono staffer Betsy Lin traveled to Havana, Cuba 05/08/14-05/13/14, paid for by the Center for Democracy in the Americas. She met with Cuban officials; attended meetings on U.S-Cuban relations; toured agricultural facilities.[40]

EMILY's List

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

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, on February 16, 2013, held "our most successful gala ever" at the magnificent Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, attended by over 400 political and community leaders.

During dinner, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng accepted the Bette Takahashi Service Award given to Madelyn Dunham, President Barack Obama’s grandmother, posthumously. Ms. Dunham served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Hawaii starting in 1976.

The Bette Takahashi Service Award is given in recognition of Ms. Dunham’s commitment to women’s rights, reproductive freedom, and her enormous positive influence on our President in his formative years. During the presentation, guests watched a tribute video from President Obama, Love and Values of a Quiet Hero , produced by Rai Saint Chu, Gala Advisory Committee Chair.

Rep. Marilyn Lee, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz, and Mayor Kirk Caldwell attended the event. Co-Chairs of the event, Chivas Nousianen and Karen McKinnie, were in attendance, as were Honorary Co-Chairs Dr. Nancie Caraway and Dr. Linda Schatz.[41]

PowerPAC+ supported Elected and Appointed Leadership

The list of PowerPAC+ leaders is growing.

Here are the social justice champions we have helped elect.

PowerPAC+ support

PowerPAC+ August 8, 2012,


PAC+ is proud to support Mazie Hirono in her historic bid for the U.S. Senate from the great state of Hawaii. Mazie would be the first Asian American woman ever to serve in the Senate, and she's locked in a close race in Saturday's primary election. PAC+ Board members Sherry Broder and Dina Shek, along with members Mari Matsuda and Chuck Lawrence presented Mazie with a check from PAC+ at last night's event. GO MAZIE!! — with Sherry Broder, Dina Shek, Mazie Hirono, Chuck Lawrence and Mari Matsuda in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, principal sponsors are Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.[43]

By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, including 26 Democrats - Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin, Thomas Carper, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Benjamin Cardin, Chris Coons, Dianne Feinstein, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich . [44]

NIAC connection

January 28, 2019.

NIAC worked closely with the offices of Senator Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Chu (D-CA) to introduce legislation targeted at ending the Muslim Ban by defunding it in Congress. The bill was released on the two-year anniversary of the Ban.

December 4, 2018,

In partnership with groups including the ACLU, NILC, SAALT, CAIR, and MPower Change, NIAC delivered petitions signed by more than 150,000 individuals to the offices of Representatives Judy Chu, Senator Murphy, Senator Van Hollen, and Senator Hirono. The petitions urged the next Congress to immediately take action to rescind the ban.

June 21, 2018.

NIAC assisted Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in drafting a Muslim Ban reporting requirements amendment that was adopted into the Senate Appropriations Committee. This amendment called on Congress to lead oversight into the implementation of Muslim Ban 3.0.

April 20, 2018.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a letter to the Trump administration requesting more information on the obscure case-by-case waiver process of Muslim Ban 3.0.[45]

The "Jihad" Caucus

In May 2015, a group of 14 U.S. senators, led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to allow 65,000 Syrians into the United States as refugees. This would require a dramatic expansion of the refugee program, and virtually guarantee that a sizable number of ISIS fighters would slip in among them. Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy called these Senators the "Jihad Caucus" because practically speaking, Jihad is what this request will bring.

The 14 senators demanding this massive influx of Syrians were: Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Robert Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons, Tim Kaine, Ed Markey, Sherrod Brown, and Mazie Hirono.

These same 14 had sent another letter in April Demanding action on the Syrians.[46]

Single Payer Bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled Wednesday September 13, 2017 a new version of his plan to give everybody government-run health insurance, potentially opening a new chapter in the ongoing debate over how to make health care in the U.S. more affordable and available.

The plan calls for an overhaul of American health insurance with a souped-up, more generous version of Medicare replacing nearly all private health insurance ― and government exerting far more control over the cost of medical care. It would arguably be the most ambitious social welfare initiative in U.S. history, but Sanders told HuffPost in an interview Tuesday that he believes America is ready for it.

“The American people are catching on to where the Republicans are coming from, they see the limitations of the Affordable Care Act and they’re looking at the alternatives,” Sanders said. “And this is a rational alternative.”

That roster of co-sponsors includes a who’s-who list of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Also backing the bill are Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Al Franken of Minnesota, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.[47]

SAALT Congressional Briefing on Hate Violence

March 23, 2017, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian civil rights organization, held a Congressional briefing to address the uptick in hate violence nationwide and highlight recommendations for change, as outlined in our recent report, “Power, Pain, Potential.” SAALT was joined by eight members of Congressional leadership and community partners in an urgent discussion on combatting the surge in hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans across the country.

“As President Trump continues to test fire Muslim bans, this administration appears intent on intensifying efforts to ignore and provoke hate violence,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “The President has a sworn duty to protect the rights and safety of all Americans. Today’s briefing with Congressional leaders is an important step in making sure President Trump doesn’t escape his responsibilities.”

Our communities have experienced devastating violence in recent months, including deadly shootings in Kansas and Washington State, numerous arson attacks and vandalism of mosques, businesses, and homes nationwide, and mounting fear by our communities across the country.

“SAALT stands ready to work with Congressional leaders to fight hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric impacting our communities across the country,” stated Ms. Raghunathan. “South Asian Americans are the most rapidly growing demographic group, and we are committed to policies at all levels that reinforce the place our communities have in our nation now and as we continue to grow.”

Honorary Co-Chairs of the briefing included: Senator Mazie Hirono (HI); Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT); Senator Ben Cardin (MD)

Member Co-Sponsors of the briefing included: Congressmembers Keith Ellison, Andre Carson; Raul Grijalva; Ami Bera; Grace Meng; Mark Takano; Pramila Jayapal; Raja Krishnamoorthi; Ro Khanna. Judy Chu also attended.

Partner organizations include: Sikh Coalition, Washington Peace Center/D.C. Justice for Muslims Coalition, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab American Institute.[48]

Resolution to Honor Civil Rights Hero Fred Korematsu

February 6, 2017, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a resolution honoring Fred Korematsu, who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans.

Wyden and Merkley said the resolution honoring Korematsu’s work and advocacy of the civil rights and liberties of all people is timely, given the president’s executive order establishing a Muslim ban.

"Fred Korematsu’s brave advocacy for the civil rights of 120,000 Japanese Americans remains a timeless example of courage that resonates today and every day,“ Wyden said. “I am committed to fighting for the continued advance of civil rights he spent his life defending, and against those who would betray both the law and our history to impose an unconstitutional religious test on immigrants."

"Heroes like Fred Korematsu demonstrate the importance of fighting fiercely for our core American values, even when it is hard,” said Merkley. “His story reminds us that the time is always right to stand up for what is right. We must keep fighting for the freedom and equality that define our nation, and ensure that the Statue of Liberty continues to stand as a beacon of hope around the world."

The resolution is cosponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse, Maria Cantwell, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Tim Kaine , Patty Murray, Chris Coons, and Dick Durbin.

A broad coalition of advocacy organizations support the resolution, including the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Restore the Fourth, The Yemen Peace Project, and Fight for the Future.[49]

Democracy for America

Mazie Hirono, U.S. Senate, Hawaii, was endorsed by Democracy for America in 2018.

SR 59 endorser

By February 20 2019 endorsers of Ed Markey's SR 59 (Green New Deal) included Mazie Hirono.


The following have worked as staff members for Mazie Hirono:[50]

External links



  1. , official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 4, 2011
  2. , official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 4, 2011
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  4., Driving Miss Mazie?
  5. PBS Claim to Fame, MAZIE HIRONO U.S. Senator (D-Hawaii)
  6. Hirono official senate bio, accessed July 10, 2015
  7. [2]
  8. Politico, A pioneer for women's equality,By MAZIE HIRONO | 11/19/13
  9. [, Daily Kos, SAT JUL 13, 2013 AT 06:52 PM PDT The next Patsy Mink just might be a skinny Jewish kid]
  10. Honolulu advertizer, September 7, 2006 Hirono's got name, political game By Treena Shapiro
  11. [3]
  12. Weekly An Independent Mind BY TOM COFFMAN | JUL 11, 2012
  13. Honolulu advertizer, September 7, 2006 Hirono's got name, political game By Treena Shapiro
  14. Honolulu advertizer, September 7, 2006 Hirono's got name, political game By Treena Shapiro
  15. The Honolulu Advertiser, September 3, 2002 Workers told it's 'crucial time'By Dan Nakaso
  16. War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
  17. [ Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
  18. [ American Thinker, September 18, 2009 The 75 Democrats who are pro-sex slave ACORN defenders By Ethel C. Fenig]
  21. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus website, accessed May 1, 2013
  22. American Action Fund
  23., Price heads to Southeast Asia Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on 2008-12-02
  24., Populists Stymie Wall Street, From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2008,
  25. Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
  26. website, accessed May 15,2012
  27. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation website. Council for a Livable World 50th Anniversary Celebration
  28. [4]
  29. PW, Momentum grows for ending the filibuster, by: Mark Gruenberg November 12 2012
  30. NAKASEC April 11, 2013 Contact: Jane Yoo, NAKASEC, 202.630.4013
  31. PW, $1 trillion in debt, students lobby Congress for action, by: Lisa Bergmann April 11 2013
  32. Momentum Builds for Honoring Legendary Organizer Fred Ross, by Randy Shaw, 2013-03-05
  33. Global Post, Four U.S. female lawmakers to visit S. Korea, August 21, 2013
  34. Mazie Hirono website, accessed November 2013
  36. ARA Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans Holds its Convention
  37. ARA endorsements 2012
  38. American Action Fund]
  40. Legistorm. Rep. Mazie Hirono (-Hawaii, 2nd) - Privately Financed Travel
  41. Planned Parenthood of HawaiiVolume 2013 Issue 1 • June 2013
  42. PowerPAC+Elected and Appointed Leadership, accessed Dec. 1 ,2014
  43. [, Cuba travel bill advances in the Senate by: Emile Schepers May 20 2015]
  44. [%22S+299%22}, Congress.Gov. S.299 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016) | G]
  45. [5]
  46. Jihad Caucus,, Jim Simpson, The Jihad Caucus, May 26, 2015
  47. HuffPo09/13/2017 08:00 am ET Updated 2 days ago Bernie Sanders Announces Single-Payer Bill With Major Support In Senate By Daniel Marans , Jonathan Cohn
  48. , Posted on March 23, 2017 by SAALTSAALT Organizes Congressional Briefing on Hate Violence
  49. [6]
  50. Legistorm: Mazie Hirono (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)