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Hawai`i's televisions viewers have been told this week that Congresswoman Mazie Hirono isn't "tough" enough to become a U.S. Senator. No facts are offered to back up this claim by her opponent in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary. Indeed, Hirono's entire life shows the opposite is true.

Her opponent wants her to stop talking about her family, but they have a compelling story. Hirono came to the U.S. from Japan, as her mother fled an abusive marriage, without knowing any English. Through hard work and the tutelage of public-school teachers in Honolulu, Hirono became an honors student, graduating from Kaimuki High School before earning degrees at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and Georgetown's law school. Most people would say that personal history shows impressive strength of character.

Her political career provides many vivid examples of her toughness too. As Lieutenant Governor from 1994 to 2002, she publicly disagreed with her running mate and boss, Gov. Ben Cayetano, on multiple high-profile matters. While Cayetano fought the teachers' union, Hirono walked the picket line with striking educators. Whereas Cayetano joined his Republican opponents in opposition to same-sex marriage, Hirono had the guts to oppose an anti-equality constitutional amendment, even as she and Cayetano were (successfully) running for re-election.

While in Congress, Hirono's most high-profile friends and allies have included Barney Frank, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. Yet she's had the courage to publicly oppose each of them on matters of principle and to help her constituents.

As a freshman Member of Congress in 2007, she went to the House floor to fight for the protection of transgendered employees in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - a position that put her in direct opposition to Frank and the committee he chaired.

Hirono endorsed Obama in the 2008 presidential primary and has been a staunch Administration ally on most issues. Yet, she has argued with the White House and the Pentagon on Afghanistan. She has advocated and voted for redeployment of troops at a faster pace than the Administration favors.

Her fight against Pelosi and the National Education Association (a usual Hirono ally) is one of the more recent examples of Hirono's fortitude. She joined with Republican Congressman Don Young to spearhead a successful bipartisan effort to amend the budget and direct education funding to Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan programs.

Incidentally, Hirono's primary run is being supported by Frank, Pelosi, Hawai`i's NEA affiliate, and Young - perhaps showing that being tough and being respectful don't have to be mutually exclusive.

So, is Hirono tough enough to be the second woman of color and first immigrant elected to the U.S. Senate? If you think so, you can join #TeamMazie.

Aloha and mahalo.

Originally posted to Hirono for Senate on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by APA Kos : Asian/Pacific Americans at DailyKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Zinman, shayera, Karen from Maui

    A liberal is a conservative who's been hugged.

    by raatz on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:33:46 AM PDT

  •  Mazie Hirono is a fighter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, shayera

    One does not have to come across as an abrasive, bombastic, foul-mouthed jerk like I tend to be to run an aggressive campaign for public office. Yes, I just called myself a jerk.

    Hawaii's Mazie Hirono reminds me quite a bit of one of my political heroes, Lori Compas, a progressive Democrat who unsuccessfully attempted to recall Republican Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald. Compas had virtually zero chance of winning, given that Fitzgerald's state senate district in Wisconsin is heavily Republican, in fact, Fitzgerald ended up winning by a wide margin, but Compas ran an aggressive campaign anyways, repeatedly criticizing Fitzgerald on the campaign trail for disregarding Wisconsin's open meetings laws when convening a conference committee to ram a bill that would strip most Wisconsin public-sector workers of most of their collective bargaining rights, yet, at the same time, she came across as a very kind, considerate, intelligent, and likeable person.

    There are only two people on the face of this earth that can tell me to my face to shut up and still come across as a nice person. One of them is Lori Compas, the other is Maize Hirono.

    Joe Lieberman, Mike Madigan, Andrew Cuomo, and Tim Cullen...why are they Democrats?

    by DownstateDemocrat on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 04:55:04 PM PDT

  •  Ugly Campaigning by Case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Case cannot beat Hirono on issues so he resorts to character assassination.  Here are the issues of disagreement:

    Hirono - open to removing cap on SS wages (e.g. charge the rich at the same rate as us working stiffs)

    Case - Maybe raise the cap a little but have to be careful not to tax the "job creators".  Swear to god he said that in the AARP debate.  I thought I'd been transported to a GOP primary debate.

    Hirono - Don't raise the age of SS retirement

    Case - Raise the age.

    Hirono - I support programs that help our keiki, kupuna etc.

    Case - Me too, except when they cost money because "I'm a fiscal conservative" which is why I voted to defund Family Planning programs last time I was in office.  (I'm taking a little liberty here by mashing his excuses together with his position)

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