Newly elected Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) will become the only new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the next session of Congress, the Senate Democratic Steering Committee announced Wednesday.
Hirono, a lawyer and graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, will be filling the committee spot vacated by retiring Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). There was no announcement Wednesday about any subcommittee assignments.
Hirono has been a U.S. representative for Hawaii since 2006; she won the Senate seat in November after Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) decided not to run for re-election. Born in Japan, Hirono will be the first Asian-American woman in the Senate.
In the House, she served on two committees: Education and the Workforce, and Transportation and Infrastructure. Her website lists her legislative priorities as including job creation, education, transportation, renewable energy and the environment.
Hirono has a background in legal and political work. After graduation from law school, she returned to Hawaii and was deputy attorney general before entering private practice, Hirono’s website states. She was elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives in 1980 and “made her mark in the state House as a consumer crusader.” In 1994, she was elected the state’s lieutenant governor.
The steering committee also announced a new chairman and two new members for the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which handles all confirmations for judges nominated to the D.C. Superior Court.
The new chairman is Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), who replaces Akaka, a longtime fixture at the superior court nomination hearings. The two new committee members are Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who is an attorney, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).