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Mazie Hirono is the first Asian-American female, Buddhist and Japan-born U.S. senator.
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She decided at first run for mayor of Honolulu, but fate interceded and she ran for the governorship of Hawaii instead. She won her primary race, if only by 2,000 votes, but lost the general election to Linda Lingle, who became Hawaii's first female governor.
Down but not out, Hirono stayed involved in Hawaiian politics, founding the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee, which raises money for pro-choice female Democratic candidates in Hawaii. In 2006, Hirono was ready to run again, this time for a seat in U.S. Congress. She won the 2nd District seat by a comfortable margin, becoming the first Asian woman to win election to Congress, and continued to lobby on behalf of her lifelong causes: education, labor, and children and women's issues, as well as issues of importance to the state of Hawaii.
In 2012, Hirono announced that she would run for Hawaii's open Senate seat. Her opponent was once again Linda Lingle, Hawaii's governor. This time around, Hirono prevailed, and by a wide margin. Her victory made her the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Senate, the first elected female senator from Hawaii, the first U.S. senator born in Japan and the nation's first Buddhist senator. She was sworn in on January 3, 2013, by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
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