May 31, 2019

Senator Hirono Introduces Resolution to Honor Patsy T. Mink

HONOLULU – Last week, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), along with twenty of her U.S. Senate colleagues, introduced a resolution to commemorate the life and legacy of Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 terms. November 3, 2019 will mark the 55th anniversary of Rep. Mink’s election to Congress. All seventeen Democratic women senators have signed onto the resolution. 

“My friend Patsy Mink was a champion for social and economic justice, equality and civil rights for women and marginalized communities,” Senator Hirono said. “She was a trailblazer who never backed down from a challenge and whose work in Hawaii and Congress brought positive change to the lives of women, children, and minorities in Hawaii and across the country. It is an honor to play a part in carrying on her legacy and continuing the important work that she started.”

“Patsy Takemoto Mink is one of the most under recognized individuals in U.S. History. Coming from islands in the middle of the Pacific, Mink made a tremendous impact on the U.S. nation through her advocacy of anti-war, feminist, and environmental politics. She fundamentally believed in the civic right and obligation to speak up and make our society better. As a woman of color, she advocated for others relegated to the margins of U.S. society. She amplified their voices, brought attention to their issues and fought for equal right and justice. To honor Patsy Mink is to honor the promise of the United States,” Professor Judy Wu, Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California – Irvine, said.

“When Patsy T. Mink was elected to Congress, she didn’t just make history, she made a difference,” Senator Patty Murray said. “Congresswoman Mink represented change for millions of women and Asians Americans who didn’t have many role models in Congress who looked like them, and she championed change for families across our country as she fought to give students of every background a fairer shot at a brighter future.”

“Representation matters. Our government works better when it looks and thinks like the people it represents. Patsy Mink was a trailblazer as the first woman of color ever elected to the House of Representatives over fifty years ago. Her legacy lives on through flagship initiatives like her childcare bill and Title IX. She paved the way for people like me to serve in office, and I’ll continue to honor her work by making sure Washington reflects our nation’s beautiful diversity,” Senator Cortez Masto said.

“Patsy Takemoto Mink was a true trailblazer in Congress as the first Asian American woman elected to Congress,” Senator Rosen said. “Representative Mink was a co-author of Title IX legislation which opened the doors for equal opportunities in education. During this celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us honor Congresswoman Mink’s legacy.”

Rep. Mink was the first woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. Rep. Mink introduced the first childcare bill and co-authored Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, to promote equal access to opportunities for women and girls. The bill was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002. Rep. Mink was also known for her work on bringing to light the injustice that Japanese Americans faced during their internment during World War II.

During her time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Mink was the first Democratic woman to deliver a State of the Union response in 1970. She was also a co-founder and chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as the co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. In 2014, President Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, in celebration and recognition of her work to improve the lives of women and minorities and to promote the opportunities and rights of all individuals.

Prior to her election to Congress, Rep. Mink served in the Hawaii territorial House from 1956 to 1958, the Hawaii territorial Senate from 1958 to 1959, and the Hawaii State Senate from 1962 to 1964. She was also the first Asian American woman to practice law in the State of Hawaii.

In addition to Senator Hirono, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cosponsored the resolution.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

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