Sunday, April 4, 2021

Immigrant of the week: Senator Mazie Hirono

Harono Heart of Fire

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) is the first immigrant to serve in the Senate. Senator Hirono was born to a family who lived modestly on a rice farm in Japan. Her mother sought out a better life for their family in Hawaii, where Hirono grew up and attended college. After getting her start in Hawaii state politics, she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives to fill the seat of her friend and mentor Representative Patsy Mink and then moved to the Senate with the retirement of Senator Daniel Akaka. This made her the first Asian American woman in the Senate 

Senator Hirono serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, the Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship among others. She chairs the Subcommittees on Energy and Seapower. During her time in Congress, she has become increasingly public in her critiques of the right's political stances.  She deplored the Muslim ban called for Trump's impeachment long before others in Congress considered it. She questioned Supreme Court nominees Brent Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. And her stances are not only partisan: she has called on President Biden to nominate more people of color for senior positions (before changing her stance) and pushed him to fill judicial seats in order to reverse the conservative tilt on the bench that flows from a torrent of Trump-appointed judges. 

The story of her emerging presence in Congress are told in Senator Hirono's memoir, Heart of Fire, will be published on April 20 and in Episode 3 of the PBS documentary Asian Americans (profiled by KitJ for ImmigrationProf Blog)


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