“People are getting screwed in this country every single second, minute, hour of the day. And, by our efforts, if we can decrease that number, we will be making a difference. We will be doing our jobs.”
“I know how important public schools are because I'm an immigrant, and I attended public schools all the way through college. I learned how to speak English in public schools. I learned how to prepare for college and public schools. And we all have teachers who influenced our lives.”
Mazie Hirono is still in touch with her sixth grade teacher, Mr. Oshiro, who she says pushed her to make something of herself and give back. From her public elementary school, where she learned English, to the Senate, where she serves as the only immigrant in the chamber, Mazie has taken that advice. In the process, she’s become one of public education’s staunchest defenders.
Mazie has spent her career expanding access to education. The Pre-Plus program she introduced as Lieutenant Governor created 17 new early child development centers at public schools across Hawaii. Mazie took that same mission to the Senate, where she leads the fight for universal pre-K with proposals like the Child Care for Working Families Act. And as someone who put herself through law school with student loans, Mazie knows the importance of resources for higher education. That’s why she co-sponsored legislation to expand Pell grants and reduce the burden of student debt.
If Mazie is a strong ally of public education, she’s a powerful opponent to its enemies. During the Trump Administration, Mazie has led the opposition to Betsy DeVos’s nomination and introduced a law to strengthen public sector unions, including teachers unions, against the horrible Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME.