Mazie Hirono ContactBack to top
Address: B-40E DSOB, DC 20510
Phone: (808) 522-8970
Address: 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu HI 96850-5104
Mazie Hirono StaffBack to top
Mazie Hirono CommitteesBack to top
Mazie Hirono BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, term expires 2018, 1st term.
- State: Hawaii
- Born: Nov. 03, 1947, Fukushima, Japan
- Home: Honolulu
University of Hawaii, B.A. 1970; Georgetown University, J.D. 1978
- Professional Career:
Deputy Hawaii attorney general, 1978-80; practicing lawyer, 1984-88
- Political Career:
U.S. House, 2006-12; Hawaii lieutenant governor, 1994-2002; Hawaii House, 1980-94
- Ethnicity: Asian/Pacific American
- Family: Married (Leighton Kim Oshima); 1 children
Democrat Mazie Hirono turned back a strong challenge from former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle to keep the Senate seat in her party’s hands in 2012. She succeeded Sen. Daniel Akaka, who retired after serving three full terms.
As in her other campaigns, Hirono made much of her early-life hardships, which she says inform her liberal politics. She was born in Fukushima, Japan, and immigrated to Hawaii just before her eighth birthday with her mother, who fled an abusive husband with alcohol and gambling problems. As a child, she shared a single bed in a boardinghouse room with her mother and older brother, and at age 10 went to work to support the family. She mastered English in public schools and became a naturalized citizen in 1959, the year that Hawaii became a state.
After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Hirono got involved in politics by working on state House campaigns. She then earned a law degree from Georgetown University and worked in the Hawaii attorney general’s office. She ran for the state House in 1980 and won, holding the seat for 14 years. In 1994, she was elected to the first of two terms as lieutenant governor. She ran against Lingle for governor in 2002, but her campaign was poorly organized and was undermined by Democratic corruption scandals and other problems. She lost, 52%-47%.
Hirono formed a political action committee to assist state-level Democratic women supporting abortion rights. She got her chance to become an elected official again in 2006, when Rep. Ed Case challenged Akaka in the Democratic primary. She ran for Case’s House seat, and emerged atop a 10-candidate Democratic primary field. She then easily beat GOP state Sen. Bob Hogue in a district that had never elected a Republican, becoming the first Asian immigrant woman to serve in Congress.
She had a solidly liberal voting record and a relatively low profile in the House. Her enthusiastic support of the Democratic agenda led the Hawaii Tribune-Herald to say, in endorsing her in 2008, “We wish she’d be a little more independent and less partisan.” Like the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, she was a staunch defender of earmarking to benefit the state, and in fiscal 2010, she ranked third among all House members in accumulating special-request spending items, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. She has said that each of the projects she requests has “an intrinsic value” and can often yield benefits far beyond their local scope.
When Akaka announced his retirement, Hirono was considered the early Democratic favorite. But Republicans got their wish when Lingle, after months of deliberation, agreed to run. She initially made the race competitive, campaigning on her successful record in the statehouse as a moderate and stressing that she wouldn’t be beholden to Senate GOP leaders. She ran an ad criticizing Hirono for not getting any of her own bills signed into law. But Lingle said she would vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, which Hawaii political analysts said didn’t play well in Obama’s home state.
Hirono argued that Lingle would vote with Republicans and that a vote for Lingle potentially could put the GOP in the majority, which she claimed would lead to the repeal of Obama’s health care reform law, provide more tax cuts for the wealthy, and threaten Social Security and Medicare. Bringing the argument closer to home, she also asserted that a Republican majority would threaten the influence of Inouye, the Appropriations Committee’s top Democrat and a beloved icon to Hawaiians. Hirono opened a double-digit lead by early October and went on to win 63% to 37%.
She is Hawaii’s junior senator. Senior Sen. Inouye died in office shortly after the November election, on December 17, 2012. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed his lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz, as Inouye’s immediate replacement. Schatz started his service in the Senate in late December, and so surpassed Hirono in seniority by a few days because her Senate term did not begin until early January 2013, when the new Congress was sworn in.Show Less
Mazie Hirono Election ResultsBack to top
House: 2010 (72%), 2008 (76%), 2006 (61%)
Mazie Hirono Votes and BillsBack to top NJ Vote Ratings
National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting
|Economic||92 (L) : 7 (C)||89 (L) : - (C)||92 (L) : - (C)|
|Social||73 (L) : - (C)||75 (L) : 25 (C)||80 (L) : - (C)|
|Foreign||71 (L) : - (C)||80 (L) : 19 (C)||84 (L) : 12 (C)|
|Composite||88.2 (L) : 11.8 (C)||83.3 (L) : 16.7 (C)||90.7 (L) : 9.3 (C)|
The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.
The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.
- Raise debt limit
- Vote: Y
- Year: 2011