Newly elected Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii will be the only new Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in next year’s Congress, the Senate Democrats announced Wednesday.
Hirono, who had previously served in the House since 2007, will take the place of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. Hirono beat former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) handily in November’s election to secure her seat in the Senate.
Hirono graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center, and she went on to serve as a state deputy attorney general. In 1980 she joined the Hawaii House of Representatives and in 1994 was elected as the state’s Lieutenant Governor.
In the House, Hirono served on the education and transportation committees. She also served on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
The Japanese-born Hirono became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959, making her the first immigrant Asian-American woman to join Congress. She will be the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will continue to serve as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Republican leadership has not yet announced its committee assignments for the next session of Congress.