Patsy Mink

Lived:December 6, 1927—September 28, 2002 (aged 74)
Career:U.S. House of Representatives, 1965-1977, 1990-2002
Hawaii State Senate, 1958-1959, 1962-1964
Hawaii House of Representatives, 1956-1958
Education:B.A., University of Hawaii
J.D., University of Chicago Law School

Patsy Mink served as a United States representative for Hawaii from 1965 to 1977, and then again from 1990 to 2002. Mink was the first woman of color to serve in Congress. In 1972, she ran as an anti-war candidate in the 1972 Oregon Democratic presidential primary.

Mink was born December 6, 1927, in Pai, Hawaii Territory. She attended Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in zoology and chemistry from the University of Hawaii in 1948. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. Following, she returned to Hawaii and opened a private law practice in Honolulu, while also lecturing on business law at the University of Hawaii.

Mink founded Oahu Young Democrats in 1954; in 1955, she worked as an attorney for the territorial House of Representatives. From 1956 to 1958, Mink served as a member of the territorial House of Representatives. She served in the Hawaii Senate from 1958 to 1959, and then from 1962 to 1964. While in the Hawaii Senate, Mink served as a chair on the education committee.

Mink served in the U.S. House of Representative from 1965 until 1977, when she left Congress after losing a U.S. Senate primary race. She then served as assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, as president of Americans for Democratic Action, and as a member of the Honolulu City Council. In 1990, she won a special election and returned to Congress.

On September 28, 2002, after a month-long hospitalization with pneumonia, Mink died in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For information on Mink's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on