MAZIE HIRONO

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By Tim Sullivan

Born in Japan, she was raised by a single immigrant mother in Hawaii. She entered politics, being awarded Legislator of the Year in 1984 for her work in the Hawaiian House of Representatives.

She was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1994 and ran for Governor in 2002. After a blistering Democratic primary that she won by 1%, she was defeated by Republican Linda Lingle in the general election.

She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, where she championed education reform and federal support for family planning.

She ran for U.S. Senator against her former rival, Linda Lingle, defeating her 67-33%. She became the first woman elected to the Senate from Hawaii, the first Asian-American female Senator, and the first Buddhist Senator.

Though Senator John McCain's battle with cancer and return for crucial votes on health care were major talking points in 2017, Mazie's battle with stage 4 kidney cancer and repeated returns to the Senate throughout treatment went almost unmentioned.

"I bring quadruple diversity to the Senate: I'm a woman; I'll be the first Asian woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate; I am an immigrant; I am a Buddhist. When I said this at one of my gatherings, they said, 'Yes, but are you gay?' and I said, 'Nobody's perfect.'"

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