Aloha, Senator. Daniel Inouye Passes Away at 88

5 years ago

Senator Daniel Inouye, the most senior statesman in Washington, passed away on Monday. Inouye, age 88, represented his home state in the capitol since Hawaii gained statehood in 1959. His death is not just a loss for Congress, but for the Asian American Pacific Islander community. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve on Capitol Hill, as well a World War II hero as part of the 442 Regiment, a unit made up entirely of Japanese Americans who petitioned for the right to serve in the military, while their friends and family were interned in camps across the western United States. Inouye was awarded a Medal of Honor in battle injuries in which he lost one arm. The senior Senator is also being remembered as a pro-choice champion and a supporter of LGBT rights.

According to a statement by Sen. Inouye’s staff, his final word was, “Aloha”.

PICTURED: Jan. 23, 2008 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - U.S. Senator DANIEL K. INOUYE (D-HI) discusses 'Congressional Outlook for Tourism Legislation' during the 76th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in D.C. (Credit Image: © D.C. Hughes/LNI/

Among the many comments in honor of Inouye, President Obama’s Twitter account sent out one of the Commander-in-Chief’s personal tweets, signed with his initials:

As the most senior member of the Senate, Inouye served as President Pro-Tempore, which made him third in line to the President. Inouye’s passing will precipitate some changes in key positions, such as the Appropriations, Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) could be named to succeed Sen. Daniel Inouye(D-HI) in the upper house. According to Hawaii News Now, Inouye wrote a letter to Governor Neil Abercrombie recommending Hanabusa, just hours before his death. If Hanabusa is selected, the state of Hawaii will have two Asian American women serving in the Senate. In November, the state elected Maizie Hirono as the first Asian female to serve in the upper house.

Mahalo, Senator Inouye.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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