A perspective we need in the Senate
Born in Fukushima, Japan, Sen. Mazie Hirono is the only immigrant currently serving in the U.S. Senate, and she is running for reelection to continue her outstanding representation of the people of Hawai’i. After spending the first few years of her life living on her grandparents’ rice farm, she moved to the United States when she was nearly eight years old, after her mother made the decision to escape from her abusive marriage to Hirono’s father, taking Hirono and her brother across the Pacific Ocean to Hawai‘i with all of the family’s possessions packed into one suitcase. In Hawai‘i, her mother worked as a typesetter for a Japanese-language newspaper during the day and for a catering company at night, while the family lived in a rented room at a boarding house, sleeping sideways to share one bed. Hirono started elementary school in Hawai‘i before she could read or speak English and helped earn money to cover her school lunches by working as a student cashier at her elementary school and cover other family expenses by delivering newspapers after school. After graduating from high school, Hirono worked her way through college at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and through law school at Georgetown, moving back to Hawai‘i after finishing her degrees to work as an attorney. In 1980, she successfully ran for a seat in the Hawai‘i House of Representatives, where she served until 1994, when she was elected as the state’s lieutenant governor. In 2006, Hirono was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives after winning a highly-contested, 10-way primary for the Democratic nomination with the early support of EMILYs List. In 2012, Hirono ran for the U.S. Senate and won, becoming the first woman ever to represent her home state in the Senate and the first Asian American woman ever to serve in that chamber.
A commitment to the issues that matter
Sen. Hirono has fought for the issues that matter time and time again, from calling on the Department of Homeland Security to protect unaccompanied children detained at the U.S. border to defending our right to make our own reproductive health care decisions to strongly supporting legislation to protect the environment and increase investment in renewable energy. “Efforts to take away health care, slash funding for public schools, or undermine the civil rights that so many rely on are things that I strongly oppose and have fought against,” she has said. “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee I have worked to promote these values in fighting against unqualified nominations, promote fairer treatment of immigrants and minority groups, and protect the civil rights of everyone. It is a privilege to do my very best for Hawaii in the U.S. Senate. With my background and experiences, I never forget where I came from or who I fight for and why.”
A voice for families working hard for a shot at the American dream
When Sen. Hirono was first elected to the Senate, she pledged to be “a voice for veterans, women, seniors, teachers, and young people who just want a chance at the American dream,” and she has kept that promise. There is no question that we need her values, perseverance, and perspective in the Senate now more than ever before. Let’s show her the full support of the EMILYs List community every step of the way as she continues her fight for families in Hawai‘i and across the country.