Senator Mazie Hirono

Last week, politicians in the United States voted to save the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Three Republicans stood with the united Democrats in saving the healthcare programme. Two of those Republicans, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have been opposed to the varied Republican proposals to gut the ACA since the beginning. The third, John McCain, is fighting brain cancer: he made headlines around the world for his vote. A Democratic Senator has a similar story to McCain, but didn’t make as many headlines. Mazie Hirono is currently battling Stage 4 kidney cancer, and flew from Hawaii to place her vote. She used her platform to appeal to her colleagues to show the same compassion to the people of America as they had to her.

Mazie was born in Japan to an American mother; the family moved to Hawaii when she was quite young. After graduating from Georgetown University, she returned to Honolulu to practice law. She entered politics in 1980 and served in a number of different districts in Hawaii. As a member of the House of Representatives she passed over 100 laws and was named Legislator of the Year in 1984.

In 1994 she was elected Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii. This was a historic election for Hawaii; Mazie was the first Japanese immigrant to be Lieutenant Governor, serving under the first Filipino-American governor of Hawaii. Throughout her years as a politician she has taken a very public stance in support of contraception and promoting accessibility for as many women as possible. She also used her position to block current attempts to repeal Obamacare. Mazie shared a personal story about the death of her sister, who died in Japan at 2 years old because the family did not have access to healthcare. She also asked the other Senators to show the American public the same compassion those same Senators showed her when she was diagnosed with cancer. “You showed me your care. You showed me your compassion. Where is that tonight?” Her speech, along with those of other politicians, helped to block the repeal of Obamacare and saved healthcare for many Americans.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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