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U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Life as a National Lightning Rod Ahead of Election Day

The Hawai‘i lawmaker says voters tell her they appreciate her strong language.





Sen. Mazie Hirono is back in Honolulu for the Congressional break and she says she is hearing mostly supportive reactions from Hawai‘i residents who saw her take strong stands in the national spotlight during the controversial confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.


Some people did criticize her use of strong language in reaction to policies of President Donald Trump. Our editor at large asked her what she thought of being such a lightning rod. She responded: “The priorities of this administration are so terrible on a regular basis, that if you’re not moved to swear once in a while, you’re not paying attention.”


SEE ALSO: Political Survivor: A Closer Look at Hawaiʻi’s First Female Senator, Mazie Hirono


She says she hopes that voters consider the context: “It’s not like I swear every day. Hirono was among many O‘ahu citizens who voted walk-in this week at Honolulu Hale, and she paused outside to encourage residents to vote so their voices can be heard.


Several voters stopped to shake her hand or take photos. Though she did get a recent shout of “manhater” while sign-waving, she’s keeping her sense of humor.  “Someone wrote to me and said that every time Sen. Hirono says bullshit, another angel gets her wings. Don’t you think that’s lovely?”


SEE ALSO: 7 Things We Didn’t Expect from the 2018 Hawaiʻi Election Deadline


On a more serious note, Hirono says she feels it’s important to continue to speak out. “I think it’s important for people to see a woman, a minority person, able to push back on the president. And I speak very plainly and I think that’s why so many people respond, mostly positively, but there are a lot of people whose buttons I’ve pressed. They don’t like the fact that I, a woman, am speaking that way.”


As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hirono has been a lightning rod, drawing backlash when advocating for the rights of women to speak out sexual assault and harassment. She encourages voters to let their voices be heard: “There’s still time to vote, go out and vote.”


Election Day is Tuesday.





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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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