Senator Maizie Hirono was born in Fukushima, Japan, and when she was nearly eight years old her mother brought her and her siblings to Hawaii to escape an abusive husband and seek a better life. She graduated from Kaimuki High School and then from the University of Hawaii at Manoa followed by the Georgetown University Law Center.
Hirono served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1981 to 1994 and earned a reputation as an advocate for consumers and workers. After being elected as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994, Hirono led the creation of Hawaii’s Pre-Plus Program to expand access to quality, affordable early education.
In 2006, voters in Hawaii’s second congressional district elected Hirono to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served three terms before being elected to the Senate in 2012, becoming Hawaii’s first female senator and the country’s first Asian-American woman senator.
Throughout her career, Hirono has fought on behalf of Hawaii families and communities.
In the Senate, Hirono is a leading champion for women’s rights, voting and civil rights, the Native Hawaiian community, sustainable communities, and early education. Hirono is currently the Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, where she is leading the fight to modernize military infrastructure in Hawaii and across the country.
Senator Hirono has not only demonstrated strong leadership, she has also directly supported the 4-H program in Hawaii through her participation in the Hawaii State 4-H Video Cooking Contest in 2020 (when she shared her own video recipe for kimchi and her office reaches out with support when 4-H agents receive federal grants and provides information on funding opportunities to support programs.
Because of her demonstration of values of the 4-H program – leadership, community service, and respect to the environment – and her direct support of the program and its members in Hawaii, Senator Mazie Hirono has been chosen as this year’s Ahaolelo Alii. We greatly appreciate all she has done for our program and our state.