Hirono Recovering After Second Planned Surgery

By Sophie Cocke

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono’s surgery to remove part of her rib Tuesday was successful, and she is in recovery, according to staff from her office. The operation was the second of two surgeries planned since Hirono was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer earlier this year.

Last month Hirono, 69, had one of her kidneys removed. The operations were expected to remove all traces of cancer.

It’s not clear when Hirono will be back at work, but she bounced back quickly from her first surgery, and during a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, she said that she looked forward to getting back to the fight against the Republican health care proposal.

“I’m going to be back as quickly as I can to keep up the fight against this mean, ugly bill,” she said. “The stakes are too high to stay silent.”

Hirono, who has held her Senate seat since 2012, has been firm about her plans to run for re-election next year, and her Hawaii colleagues in the House have made clear in recent days that she has their support. Both U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have issued early endorsements of Hirono’s re-election campaign.

Despite speculation in political circles in recent years that Gabbard might try to challenge Hirono for her Senate seat in a Democratic primary, Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month that she had promised Hirono both in 2013 and January of this year that she had no intention of doing so.

Last week, Gabbard endorsed Hirono, saying she was “encouraged by her fighting spirit.”

“I was happy to hear Mazie say that she is going to be running for re-election in 2018. It’s an honor to work with Sen. Hirono in Congress,” Gabbard wrote on her Facebook page. “As I’ve said before, Mazie is doing a great job in Washington and I fully endorse her re-election.

“I know she will keep working hard as a champion for women, education reform, affordable health care, immigration reform and so much more as she continues to represent Hawaii in the U.S. Senate.”

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa also endorsed Hirono yesterday morning, sending out an email to supporters asking them to support Hirono’s re-election through a $25 campaign contribution.

Hirono “never forgets where she comes from or who she’s fighting for,” Hanabusa wrote. “She’s spent her entire career fighting for the little guy and to make sure that Hawaii families have a fair shot at getting ahead. In Congress, we’ve teamed up to fight for legislation that will create opportunity for our keiki, keep our promises to our veterans and protect our aina. But battles don’t stay won and our work isn’t finished — not by a long shot. And we need Mazie with us.”

Hirono recovering after second planned surgery

Mr. Khizr Khan Interview Highlights

Khizr Khan speaks quietly, yet purposefully. But for his towering height, he may not have stood out in the crowd at our June 14, 2017 fundraiser in Washington, D.C. The father of a Muslim-American soldier, who was killed in the Iraq War, gained celebrity status following his televised speech at the Democratic National Convention last August. During the speech, where he was flanked by his wife, Khan famously held up a pocket copy of the Constitution as he called out then-candidate Donald Trump for his rhetoric against Muslim Americans.

Khan sat down with the social media action team of AAA Fund for an interview.

Here are the highlights.

  • Since his appearance at the Democratic National Committee convention, Khan has spent less time in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va. He has made 124 public appearances across the country. He feels compelled to speak out “because I feel personally that the country needs the voice of all of us.”

    “That has been my journey and I will continue to speak.”

  • Khan draws strength from meeting people from his visits to California, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. “I have never felt so positive, hopeful and enthusiastic as I feel now when I meet communities … This difficult moment is momentary. It will pass,” he said.

    Where does he derive his optimism? Khan says that he sees Americans “stand for the rule of law, stand for pluralism, stand for goodness of this country.” He says it has been a blessing to have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and to be among people who also uphold its principles.

  • Khan wants to do more than to come together in affirmation of democratic values. “My emphasis today is on action,” Khan said. He has a clarion call for Americans:

    First, Khan urges Americans to run for office. “Become candidates – not only voters – for school board, county boards, state assembly, Congress.”

    Second, he says that voting is a “must.” “Voting is a privilege, an honor and an obligation.”

    Third, Khan calls on elected officials and the public to speak out against hate crimes. “Hatred is un-American. … regardless of where it comes from or who displays it.” Specifically, he said he was troubled by the murders of the two men who defended Muslim American women in Portland, Oregon, and the recruit who was killed by an alt-right follower on the University of Maryland campus.

  • The Khan family experienced the ultimate sacrifice called for by any American: the loss of their son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, 27, who died from a suicide bombing in Baghdad 12 years ago.

    When asked to share his thoughts about this sacrifice, Khan immediately spoke favorably about the people in military service and the service itself.

    “These are patriotic Americans,” he said. “We are indebted to their sacrifice. We will not be complete unless we honor the sacrifice of those who stood for this country and sacrificed their lives for this country.”

    Further, Khan urges anyone who wishes to [join] the armed services or law enforcement to do so. “It’s voluntary, not obligatory.”

    At the same time, Khan views military service as a patriotic duty that cannot be eschewed when the time calls.

    “When you made this country, this land, this nation, your home, you must defend it” he said, emphasizing again, “You must defend it.”

    “There is no ‘if.’ There is no ‘but.’ There is no ‘I will enjoy the Constitutions, the Bill of Rights, and I will not defend it.’ That is not patriotic.”

  • When asked about Khan’s advice to Asian Pacific Americans, particularly immigrants who are not yet registered to vote, voting or otherwise engaged in civic activities, he said:

    My humble message would be this: We, parents and families, emigrated to the United States. The United States is a republic and a democracy where your voice can only be heard by participation. … otherwise we [will] sit on the sidelines, and … be ignored.

    “If you come to this country, you must fulfill the obligation,” he ended.

P.S.: Thanks also to Kumar Jayasuriya and Christine Moua for transcription, recording, and editing.

Rep Grace Meng on why she voted yesterday for the Spending Bill

Ending the Attacks on Asians

In light of recent attacks and hate crimes targeting South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Middle Eastern, and Jewish communities – including the recent shooting of two South Asian men in Olathe, Kansas and the shooting of a Sikh man in Kent, Washington – Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:

“The alarming number of attacks facing the South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Middle Eastern, and Jewish communities is appalling and must end. The recent shooting of Deep Rai, a Sikh American, outside of his home in Washington follows the murder of Srinivas Kuchibotla and attempted murder of Alok Madasani in Kansas. The stark parallels in these cases are undeniable. In both attacks, the assailants told the victims to go back to their country before opening fire on them.

“While both shootings are now being investigated as hate crimes, this is not enough to stymie the increase in xenophobic attacks targeting communities of color and religious minorities that we have seen since the presidential election. In fact, just last week, we learned of the fatal shooting of another Indian man, Harnish Patel, who was murdered outside of his home in Lancaster, South Carolina. While the facts of this particular case are still being investigated, it is clear that we must do more to address the surging tide of hate and the emboldened anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric plaguing our national discourse.

“This begins with President Trump and our nation’s leaders not only condemning these incidents of hate, but also moving away from the dangerous rhetoric that has enabled this violence to flourish. We must also take proactive steps to investigate and prevent future hate crimes impacting our communities. These hateful actions run contrary to our values as a nation and have no place in our society. No community should have to live in a constant state of fear in their own country.”

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.

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