Mazie Hirono, United States Senator. Senator Hirono is the first female senator from Hawaii, the first Asian American woman in the U.S. Senate, the first U.S. Senator born in Japan, and the country’s first Buddhist Senator.
“We need to find good people to run, particularly at the local level, get us all into the pipeline, and then for women to support qualified women, [including] with money.”
"My friend Patsy Mink continues to be an inspiration to me. We both were in elected office for many years and our paths crossed many times. The last time I ever saw Patsy was at a Fourth of July parade, in 2002, and she invited me to have lunch with her. I was running for governor at that time, and she said to me, 'Mazie, you just have to win. You just have to win.' And I knew what she was talking about: this is from a woman who had run for governor, for mayor, for president, for congress—and lost, and she just kept picking herself up. She was a trailblazer in so many ways, and when I got elected to the United States House of Representatives, my very first vote that I cast as a member of the U.S. House was for the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. It was a role-call vote, and when my name was called, I said, 'In memory of Patsy T. Mink, I vote for Nancy Pelosi.' I remember Nancy turned around and flashed me this huge smile, and there were a lot of people with tears in their eyes because Patsy left us so suddenly that my colleagues in the house never had a chance to say goodbye to her. Many people came up to me and told me about how much they loved and respected Patsy, so I was honored to get elected to the seat that Patsy held for so long and so well.”
Women’s Media Center, Photograph via Japanese American Bar Association