300 Ala Moana Blvd., #3106,
Honolulu, HI 96850
Mazie was the first Asian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Born in Japan, Mazie spent her early years on her grandparents' rice farm. When nearly eight years old, Mazie, her mother and her older brother fled Japan in search of a better life. With one suitcase with all their belongings, the three crossed the Pacific in steerage and arrived in Hawaii. Life was hard for many years. The family rented a single room in a boarding house in the early years, sharing the single bed by sleeping sideways.
Though no one could have predicted it, given where Mazie's journey began, she eventually put herself through the University of Hawaii at Manoa and law school at Georgetown University.
She decided early on to give back to her community and in school volunteered as a tutor and at a mental hospital. One summer Mazie worked with at-risk teens through the YWCA. It was rewarding work and she recognized the challenges the teens faced, as she had faced challenges herself.
In 1980, by this time a lawyer, she ran for a seat in the Hawaii state legislature. Having grown up seeing how the powerful held sway over the most vulnerable, she made her mark in the state House as a consumer crusader, eventually chairing the powerful Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee. She worked on reforming auto, homeowners' and workers' compensation insurance to better protect consumers and employees.
Both as lieutenant governor by leading the Pre-Plus program and upon her election to Congress, Mazie carried a commitment to give our youngest the strongest start. When President Obama announced he was investing nearly $500 million in early learning initiatives this year, Civil Beat said the decision came "in large part to Hawaii Congresswoman Mazie Hirono's leadership" for spearheading an effort in Congress to convince the Administration to do so.
Her work championing quality early education for our keiki has won Mazie recognition as a national pre-K advocate. She fought in Congress to modernize classrooms, beef up accountability measures and improve teacher training so our educators have the support they need.
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs