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Hirono receives Margaret Brent Award


Democratic Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii’s first female senator and the first Asian-Pacific American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, is one of five outstanding female attorneys honored with the 2013 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

Hirono received the award, given annually by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, on Aug. 11 at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco during the ABA Annual Meeting.

“The Margaret Brent Awards celebrate the extraordinary achievements of female lawyers who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women in the profession,” said Mary B. Cranston, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. “Our honorees’ accomplishments serve as an inspiration to women throughout the nation.”

Sara Holtz, Gladys Kessler, Marygold Shire Melli and Therese M. Stewart will also receive the award. Previous honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“During my time in both the legal and political spheres, I have been committed to public service and being a voice for the underrepresented,” Hirono said. “I have consistently supported consumers, children and immigrants throughout my career.”

As a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hirono’s dedication to helping underserved populations grew.

“Through volunteer and tutor work, as well as weekly visits with patients at the state mental health facility, I saw how important it was for underserved populations to have advocates listen to their concerns,” she said.

“I pursued a law education so I could be a more effective advocate,” Hirono added. “Since I was interested in public interest law, I went to Georgetown for its quality clinical program. I was accepted into the Institute for Public Representation.”

Hirono’s passion for advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves eventually helped her get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served Hawaii’s 2nd district from 2007 to 2013.

Throughout Hirono’s career, she broke through many barriers. She is also the first Buddhist in the Senate.

“The Senate is a challenging place, but I am looking forward to building relationships with my colleagues,” Hirono said. “My focus is on creating jobs, fixing immigration and making sure kids can get an excellent education.”

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