The second longest serving United States Senator in all of American history, Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, died this afternoon at age 88, after 50 years of service.
Only West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd served longer, a total of 52 years, with South Carolina Republican Senator Strom Thurmond serving about 48 years, but less than Inouye, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy serving 47 plus years before his death.
Inouye is easily the most famous Japanese American politician in American history, and was injured fighting in Italy in World War II, at a time when Japanese Americans were being interned in prison camps because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He lost an arm to the war, but was always proud of his service in units that won more medals, honors and awards than any others in the Second World War. Inouye won the Medal of Honor for his service.
He is the most important person in promotion of the University of Hawaii, and of the cause of veterans, both disabled and otherwise.
As the senior member of the Senate in the past few years, Inouye served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, which put him third in line to be President, behind the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
A man of courage and strong principles, Inouye will be remembered as a Senator who made a real difference!
He served as Hawaii’s first Congressman beginning in 1959, and came to the Senate in 1962 at the same time Ted Kennedy came to the upper chamber.
Inouye served on the Watergate and Iran Contra committees, and was long time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He did a great deal to bring federal aid to Hawaii, and to promote the advancement of native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, and native Americans, and was a major promoter of transportation projects and of education. There was never a better advocate of the Hawaiian Islands than him.
May he rest in peace, having done a great job serving his constituents!