Daniel Inouye (1924-2012)

U.S. Senator From Hawaii (D), 1963 – 2012

Daniel Inouye was a United States Senator from Hawaii from 1963 until his death in 2012. He was also President pro tempore of the United States Senate (third in line of presidential succession) from 2010 to 2012.

Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He never lost an election in 58 years as an elected official.

Inouye fought in World War II as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, the all-Japanese American unit, and lost his right arm to a grenade wound during the War. He has received several military honors including the Medal of Honor (the U.S.’s highest military award) and posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom. To date, Inouye is the only senator to receive both the Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor.

Sources:

“Daniel Inouye | United States Senator | Britannica,” in Encyclopædia Britannica, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Daniel-Inouye.

“U.S. Senate: Daniel K. Inouye: A Featured Biography,” Senate.gov, December 3, 2019, https://www.senate.gov/senators/FeaturedBios/Featured_Bio_Inouye.htm.

Hiram Fong (1906-2004)

U.S. Senator from Hawaii (R), 1959-1977

Hiram Fong was a United States Senator from Hawaii from 1959 to 1977, one of Hawaii’s first two U.S. Senators. He is the first person of Chinese descent elected to Congress, the first Asian American elected to the Senate, the first Chinese American candidate for presidency, and only Republican Senator ever elected from Hawaii.

In 1964, Fong became the first Asian American to receive votes for President of the United States at a major party convention (Hawaii and Alaska delegations).

Fong was one of the foremost leaders in the fight to gain Hawaii’s statehood. He advocated for civil rights and voting rights legislation and immigration reform that sought to prevent discrimination against Asians.

Sources:

“FONG, Hiram Leong | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives,” history.house.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://history.house.gov/People/Detail/15032451315.“U.S. Senate: Hiram Fong: A Featured Biography,” http://www.senate.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.senate.gov/senators/FeaturedBios/Featured_Bio_Fong.htm.

Patsy Mink (1927-2002)

Photo source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patsy_Mink_1970s.jpg 

“We have to build things that we want to see accomplished, in life and in our country, based on our own personal experiences . . . to make sure that others do not have to suffer the same discrimination”

– Patsy Mink

U.S. House of Representatives for Hawaii (D), 1965-1977, 1990-2002

Patsy Mink served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii for 24 years (12 terms), from 1965 to 1977 and again from 1990 to 2002. She is the first woman of color elected to Congress (the second woman from Hawaii) and the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawaii.

Mink frequently traveled between Hawaii and Washington D.C. to make sure she was staying connected with the issues and concerns of the populace. She successfully served on the Committees of Education and Labor, Interior and Insular Affairs, and Budget, to voice and address these concerns.

Mink focused on issues affecting Asian Americans, women, and families; co-authored and sponsored the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act which was later renamed by President Bush the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

Sources:

“MINK, Patsy Takemoto | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives,” history.house.gov, n.d., https://history.house.gov/People/detail/18329.“Patsy Mink,” National Women’s History Museum, n.d., https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/patsy-mink.