Mazie Hirono: Wikis


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Mazie Hirono

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 2nd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Ed Case

In office
1994 – 2002
Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano
Preceded by Benjamin J. Cayetano
Succeeded by James Aiona

Born November 3, 1947 (1947-11-03) (age 62)
Fukushima, Japan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Leighton Kim Oshima
Residence Honolulu, Hawaii
Alma mater University of Hawaii at Manoa, Georgetown University
Occupation attorney
Religion Buddhist (Jodo Shinshu, non-practicing)

Mazie Keiko Hirono (Japanese: メイジー・広野 慶子; born November 3, 1947) is an American politician. She was the second Asian immigrant elected lieutenant governor of a state of the United States. A lifelong Democrat, she ran against Linda Lingle for governor of Hawaii in 2002, one of the few gubernatorial races in United States history where two major parties nominated women to challenge each other. Hirono is currently the congresswoman for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district. She considers herself a non-practicing Jodo Shinshu Buddhist,[1] and is often cited with Hank Johnson (D-Georgia), as the first Buddhist to serve in the United States Congress.[2] She is the third woman to be elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii (after Patsy Mink and Pat Saiki).


Early years

Hirono was born in Fukushima, Japan, in 1947. In 1955, Hirono's mother escaped an abusive marriage by emigrating to the United States with her children. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Hirono attended Kaʻahumanu Elementary and Koko Head Elementary Schools. She later graduated from Kaimuki High School, which at the time of her attendance had a predominantly Japanese American student body. Upon graduating from high school, Hirono enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where, in 1970, she received B.A. in psychology. She left Hawaii briefly to attend Georgetown University Law School. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and obtained her doctorate of jurisprudence in 1978. Hirono quickly returned to Honolulu where she practiced law.

Legislative career

From 1980 to 1994, Hirono served in the Hawaii House of Representatives, passing more than 120 laws. She was honored by a coalition of leaseholders as Legislator of the Year in 1984. From 1987 to 1992, she was the chairman of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee.

Lieutenant Governor

In 1994, she joined the ticket of incumbent Lieutenant Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano and was consequently elected to a historic administration led by the first Filipino American governor and first Japanese immigrant lieutenant governor. During her tenure as lieutenant governor, Hirono was also president of the National Commission on Teaching, America's Future, as well as the Hawaiʻi Policy Group. She also spearheaded the first-in-the-nation comprehensive Pre-Plus program, a precursor to universal pre-school education in the United States.

Gubernatorial campaign of 2002

With her time as Lieutenant Governor coming to an end, Hirono formed a campaign structure as she set her sights on becoming the next governor of Hawai'i in a 2002 special election to fill a vacancy to be created by Jeremy Harris' entry in the gubernatorial election. Hawaii residents were shocked, considering his high polling numbers, when Harris abruptly dropped from the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Hirono maneuvered to gain the support of potential Harris voters in her challenge against former Hawaii State House of Representatives Majority Leader Ed Case and former Republican Chairman D. G. Anderson for the Democratic ticket. Through the entire primary campaign season, Hirono and Case polled almost equally. Case appealed to Hawaii residents that his campaign was one of government reform as opposed to Hirono whom Case alleged represented the "Old Boys' Network" of Democrats that had ruled over Hawaii for forty years.

In one of the closest primary elections for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Hirono beat Case. Hirono ran against former Mayor of Maui, Republican Linda Lingle, in the general election. Lingle's campaign of reform, Agenda for New Beginnings, appealed to voters and contributed to her election as governor.

House of Representatives


2006 U.S. House election

On September 23, Hirono won the Democratic primary for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, being vacated by Ed Case, in a 10-way race, garnering 21.8 percent of the vote, about 800 votes ahead of state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, who had 21.1 percent. Former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga (14 percent) finished in third.[3]

Hirono entered the race with significant name recognition as the only candidate who had held statewide office, and she raised more money than any other candidate in the race — in part because she was backed by EMILY's List[4], which supports Democratic women who favor abortion rights. Hirono also loaned her campaign $100,000.

Committee assignments


Electoral history

  • 2006 Race for U.S. House of Representatives — 2nd Congressional District
  • 2002 Race for Governor


  1. ^ Dennis Camire. "What happened to ... religious tolerance?". Honolulu Advertiser.   Retrieved Jan. 27, 2007.
  2. ^ Jonathan Tilove. "New Congress brings with it religious firsts". Newhouse News Service.   Retrieved Dec. 8, 2006
  3. ^ Rachel Kapochunas. "Akaka Survives Challenge from Case in Hawaii Democratic Primary", cqpolitics. Retrieved Sep. 24, 2006.
  4. ^ Carries Giddins. "Emily's list announces endorsement of Mazie Hirono for Hawaii's 2nd congressional District", "Essential Elements." Retrieved June 14, 2006.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin J. Cayetano — D
Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
Succeeded by
James Aiona Jr. — R
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ed Case — D
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 2nd congressional district

2007 – present


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