March 15, 2013

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: SENATOR MAZIE K. HIRONO DELIVERS FIRST SPEECH ON SENATE FLOOR TO DEFEND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESEARCH, CAPS OFF WHIRLWIND WEEK

History-Making Speech Wraps Up Whirlwind Week That Included Work On Sexual Assaults In Military, A Viral Facebook Post From A Star Trek Star & Praise From Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Washington, D.C. - It was a history-making week for Senator Hirono as she took to the floor of the United States Senate for the first time since being sworn in, defending programs that develop alternative energy. Here’s a link to video of the speech if you haven’t seen it: http://youtu.be/CdWV6CYhick

Also this week, the Senator advocated for reforms that would stop sexual assaults in the military, continued her decades-long advocacy for early childhood education for our keiki and was praised in  a Facebook post by George Takei that received nearly 125,000 likes on Facebook.  Check out this wrap up of Senator Hirono’s whirlwind week:

WATCH: Senator Hirono Defends Alternative Energy Research In First Speech On Senate Floor

The Associated Press and outlets across Hawaii noted that Senator Hirono made her first speech on the Senate floor yesterday, criticizing a hastily offered Republican measure that would have struck funding for military alternative energy research into biofuels.

“This amendment undermines our long-term national security,” Hirono said on the floor. “Already the research and deployment of alternative energy is benefitting our long-term capabilities, improving troop safety, and making security operations more affordable”

Check out KITV’s coverage of Hirono’s speech here:   http://youtu.be/dX_L6L3USpQ

HEADLINE: “Hirono Pushes For Reforms To Stop Rapes In The Military

Earlier in the week, Senator Hirono listened to victims of sexual assault in the military and questioned military leaders about ways to ensure victims of these crimes get justice and how the military is working to prevent these terrible crimes from happening in the first place.

“These terrible incidents of rape and violence in the military are very troubling, and the testimony I heard today raised important questions about how these cases are handled in the military,” the Senator told Honolulu Civil Beat.

That night, Hawaii News Now talked to the Senator about her ideas for reforms and her thoughts on a local case where a service member was able to strike a plea deal after committing multiple sexual offenses in the military and then went on to other violent crimes. Watch the segment here: bit.ly/XKgT1P

Introduces Legislation To Expand Early Childhood Education, Earns Praise From Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Long recognized as a strong advocate for early childhood education, Senator Hirono introduced the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act (PRE-K Act). Influential education publication Education Week reported how the bill would improve the quality of state preschool programs and comes at a time when the Obama Administration is increasing its focus on early education.

“I commend Senator Hirono and her colleagues for their attention to early learning and for supporting education beginning in the earliest years -- to set our children on a path to success in school and in life,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement after Senator Hirono introduced the bill.

KITV did a piece showing how the Senator’s bill would help Hawaii’s youngest keiki:  http://youtu.be/21rjDR_CZ3o

Hirono’s Filipino Vets Bill Earns Major Support From Senate Majority Leader, Bipartisan Group Of Senators  

Honolulu Civil Beat reported how Senator Hirono’s bill to reunite Filipino World War II veterans and their families is gaining influential support in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, fellow Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Alaska Senator Mark Begich all released statements support for the legislation this week. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska also signed on to Hirono’s bill this week.

Star Trek Star Praises Hirono On Facebook & His Post Goes Viral

If you are on Facebook, you may have seen former Star Trek actor and civil rights advocate George Takei’s below post of Senator Hirono’s comments on the diversity she brings to the Senate. The post has been “liked” by more than 125,000 people, getting it attention from Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Civil Beat, Roll Call, The Hilland others.

Hirono “Leans In,” Joins Facebook Executive In Effort To Encourage More Women Leaders

Senator Hirono and a number of her colleagues met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to talk about how they can encourage more women to get involved in the highest levels of business and government.  Hirono recently contributed her own story to Sandberg’s project, describing how her mother helped her “lean in” and become engaged. You can read it here.

AND NEXT WEEK… Senator Hirono will chair her first committee hearing on Monday, a panel on how women and families are impacted by the immigration system and how their voices should not be lost in the crafting of immigration reform.