O‘ahu in 1985: Patsy Mink Was Already in the Political Vanguard When We Interviewed Her in 1985
For 133 years HONOLULU Magazine has kept its readers and advertisers at the vanguard of fashion, insight and fun. Starting out as Paradise of the Pacific in 1888 with a commission from King Kalākaua, we’re the oldest continually publishing magazine west of the Mississippi. Here is a look into our archives.
Before Clinton, Gabbard, Klobuchar and Warren, there was Mink. Patsy Mink was already in the political vanguard when we sat down with her in 1985. The first Asian American woman in Congress co-authored the groundbreaking Title IX legislation in 1972, then ran for president in the Oregon primary, the race she called the highlight of her political career.
After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1976, her husband urged her on to another campaign a few years later, this time for City Council. “Like most people, I thought of the City Council as the lowest form of political behavior. [laughs] It took me a while to decide my husband wasn’t kidding. … And every time I’d mention it to somebody he’d burst into laughter. It was hard to get people to think seriously that I hadn’t gone completely wacky.”
In 1990, she returned to the U.S. House where she served another six terms (she also served six terms in the 1960s and ’70s). Mink died in 2002 of pneumonia but her influence continues. In March 2020, Time magazine named her Woman of the Year for 1972 in a special issue for Women’s History Month.
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