SAN FRANCISCO (Monday, July 9, 2018) — ChIPs is delighted to announce its 2018 Hall of Fame honoree, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a barrier breaker who has dedicated her life to public service.
Hirono blazed a trail from Honolulu to Washington, D.C., becoming Hawaii’s first female senator and the country’s first Asian-American woman senator in 2012. She was the only woman of color in the Senate until the 2016 election.
“As a lifelong champion for women and girls and a tireless advocate for thoughtful and balanced innovation, Senator Hirono embodies the ChIPs mission.” said Mallun Yen, ChIPs CEO and board director. “She is an incredible role model and leader. We couldn’t be more delighted to honor her.”
ChIPs created the Hall of Fame program in 2013 to recognize exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the ChIPs mission of advancing women in technology, law and government. Hirono is the eighth Hall of Fame award recipient and will be honored at an induction ceremony at the ChIPs Global Summit in Washington, D.C., taking place October 17-19. Previous Hall of Fame recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, entrepreneur and former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, and ChIPs co-founder and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle K. Lee.
Born in Fukushima, Japan, Hirono was a young girl when her mother took her and her older brother to Hawaii to escape an abusive husband and seek a better life. Hirono credits her mother’s courage and determination with setting her on a path to success.
Hirono’s career as an elected official began in the Hawaii House of Representatives, where she served from 1981 to 1994. She became Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994. In 2006, voters in Hawaii’s second congressional district elected Hirono to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served until her successful run for the U.S. Senate.
Hirono serves on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. She is also the ranking member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
As a member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Senator Hirono held a field hearing on Maui to examine how to boost women and minority participation in STEM careers. Hirono attended Kaimuki High School, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Georgetown University Law Center. Her legal career began in the antitrust division of the Hawaii attorney general’s office.
Hirono resides in Honolulu with her husband Leighton Kim Oshima.