Photo of the Day – Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Judy Chu of California

 at the President’s signing of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

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Mazie Hirono is sworn into the US Senate

Also  Mazie and Tulsi are breaking congressional barriers by becoming the first Buddhist and Hindu, respectively, to serve in Congress

Tulsi Gabbard further discusses being the first to use the Bhagavad Gita when sworn into the House of Representatives

And Ami Bera becomes the third Indian American member of the US Congress

Video

Mazie Hirono Official Senate Assignments

on December 12, 2012 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid officially announced Senate Committee Assignments for 113th Congress: 

Here are Mazie’s Committee Assignments!

Energy & Natural Resources 

Focuses on the following major areas:  energy resources and development, including regulation, conservation, strategic petroleum reserves and appliance standards; nuclear energy; Indian affairs; public lands and their renewable resources; surface mining, Federal coal, oil, and gas, other mineral leasing; territories and insular possessions; and water resources.

Judiciary 

This committee focuses on legislation related to  terrorism, human rights, immigration law, intellectual property rights, antitrust law, and Internet privacy. Also, considers the President’s nominees for federal judges including Supreme Court justices as well as provide oversight of the Department of Justice.

Veterans’ Affairs 

This committee focuses on unemployment assistance, education, vocational training, housing and business loan guarantees, as well as the traditional medical and pension benefits.

Looks like Mazie will be a busy woman! Definitely working on issues she campaigned on such as environment/energy issues and veterans’ affairs

Asian American women in Congress: Part 2

Before being the youngest person ever elected to Hawaii State Legislature, Tulsi Gabbard worked with at-risk youth, joined the Hawaii National Guard and was actually deployed twice to the Middle East. She has a degree in international business. During her time in the Hawaii State Legislature, she has served on the Education, Higher Education and Tourism and Economic Development Committees.  Like Grace Meng, Tulsi wants to create jobs in helping Hawaii Businesses as well as reform banking, and bring our troops home when she begins here term in January.  And now the woman whom Tulsi replaced in the House of Representatives…

And there is finally Mazie Hirono, the first Asian American Senator from Hawaii (if I haven’t mentioned that already!). After reading a biography of this woman, she is truly living the American dream. Originally from Japan, Mazie immigrated to the United States with her mother and older brother just when Mazie was eight years old and not know a word of English. She got her first job in elementary school working as a cashier during the lunch hour as well as taking a paper route. She had to put herself through college at the University of Hawaii and Georgetown University law school. Like her fellow Hawaiian, Tulsi, Mazie spent time working with at-risk youth and noticing the difference that affected them and aimed for a career in the public service. In 1980, she first joined Hawaii state legislature and focused on reforming homeowners’ and workers’ insurance. Fourteen years later, she was elected Lieutenant Governor where she pushed for visa waivers for South Korean visitors and revamped Hawaii’s workers’ compensation laws, saving businesses approximately $85 million! And this totally made me love her more! She is a champion of expanding pre-kindergarten learning programs for kids in Hawaii where she worked with parents, teachers, business leaders and local communities! Going into the Senate, she will continue her efforts on expanding early childhood education as well as focus on creating jobs through renewable energy innovation and environmental sustainability.

What this all means to me as an Asian American woman and others like me, it makes me happy and excited to see people/representatives in the US Congress that look like me. Our voices are going to be heard and we have a say in government affairs and public policies. Our growing demographics are starting to be represented strongly in government. Girls and women like me and future generations can aim for more career options than just science/technology/engineering or doctors or business.  Moreover, we can aspire and not be afraid of taking leadership in any organization to make ourselves stand out and be heard. I am confident that more and more Asian American women and women of color, in general, will run for public office…cause women get stuff done!