Mazie Keiko Hirono (/ˈmeɪzi hiˈroʊnoʊ/; Japanese name: 広野 慶子, Hirono Keiko; born November 3, 1947) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Hawaii since 2013. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Hirono served as a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1981 to 1995 and as Hawaii’s ninth lieutenant governor from 1994 to 2002, under Ben Cayetano. The Democratic nominee for governor of Hawaii in 2002, Hirono was defeated by Republican Linda Lingle. From 2007 to 2013, she served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district.
Hirono is the first elected female senator from Hawaii, the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, the first U.S. senator born in Japan, and the nation’s first Buddhist senator. She considers herself a non-practicing Buddhist and is often cited with Hank Johnson as the first Buddhist to serve in the United States Congress. She is also the third woman to be elected to Congress from Hawaii (after Patsy Mink and Pat Saiki).
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