Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono makes visit to Guam
They've honored women first - the women pioneers who paved the way in their respective fields on Guam - and today they welcomed another first: the first and only Asian American woman to serve in the United States Senate and the first woman senator from Hawaii.
She stated, "When I was running for the US Senate, I said the United States Senate could use a lot more diversity. Diversity is something that you in Guam and we in Hawaii are familiar with, but in the place of the US Senate there's not much diversity." And before a diverse group of women leaders today, Senator Hirono shared her life story and work in the senate. Hawaii's former lieutenant governor currently serves on five committees, including the Committee on Armed Services.
"And I'm glad I sit on some committees that are really important to this part of the world - the Indo-Asia Pacific rebalance is not just a slogan, but it manifests itself in the resources and forward presence of our military, but it also incorporates the dimensions of economic issues as well as the diplomatic relations in this part of the world," she expressed.
From the rebalance to Compact impact, Hirono says Hawaii, like Guam, is also impacted adding the government "has not met its responsibilities". She added, "The challenge for us is that there are not enough places that are impacted by our Compact migrants, but we are trying to figure out a better strategy and approach."
However the biggest issue Hirono continues to advocate is women's equality. In fact, she's worked with her colleagues in the Senate to require that women in the workplace receive fair compensation. She spoke on her "humble beginnings" of being born in Japan and how her mother left an abusive husband and brought she and her siblings to Hawaii at a young age. Hirono says her mom worked two low-paying jobs to support the family. She attributes her mom's determination for the many opportunities she's had in the US - something that has compelled her to be a voice in public service.
"So my commitment is to middle class families, to women, to people with voices that are not strong enough because of my own background, my own experience, knowing what that is like," she said. "And there are members of the United States House and Senate who share that perspective and we want to see our country do so much better to create economic opportunities, educational opportunities to enable women and children and our families to thrive."
We should note while Guam is a day ahead, August 26 nationwide is celebrated as Women's Equality Day.