freelance-astronaut-deactivated asked:

Goodbye Daniel, Ihardlynouye!

I was definitely bummed to hear that Senator Inouye passed away on Monday.  I had actually been reading quite a bit about Inouye recently, and his death came just a few days after I had mentioned him in a post after the Senate’s despicable rejection of the United Nations treaty on the rights of disabled people. 

The word “hero” is frequently over-used, but not in the case of Daniel Inouye.  The Senator was a true American hero, a legendary warrior in the most decorated American combat unit of World War II, and a man who selflessly dedicated his entire life to serving our country and the people of Hawaii.  I can’t imagine that too many years will pass before Hawaii replaces one of its two statues in the National Statuary Hall with a likeness of Daniel Inouye. 

I also found it to be fitting and beautiful that the last thing that Senator Inouye said before dying was “Aloha”.

Bad Blood May Mean Primary Challenges For Gov, Schatz

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Tongues are already wagging in anticipation of bloody 2014 election battles for both Sen. Brian Schatz and the man who appointed him, Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Roll Call reports that both are vulnerable, especially after the governor went against many local Democrats by picking his own choice to replace the late Sen. Dan Inouye over the senator’s own hand-picked successor. 

Roll Call reports:

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s decision last month to appoint Brian Schatz to the Senate could unfurl divisive Democratic primaries for the seats of both men in 2014, including from within the congressional delegation. …

“There is buzz that folks are going to get primaried, there’s no question about that,” a Hawaii Democratic source said. “But as of now, it’s just a rumor.“ …

A source close to Hanabusa said the second-term Democrat has been encouraged to challenge Schatz in the special election next year. The source called it an attractive race for any qualified candidate but said that most will likely await Hanabusa’s decision, which could come within six months.

Read more.

Inouye Attends Pacific Biodiesel Dedication

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye was in Keeau on the Big Island today to attend the dedication ceremony for the Pacific Biodiesel plant there. Regular Land Blogger and Civil Beater Sophie Cocke was there and will have a full report soon.

Meantime, Inouye’s office sent these two photos. The first is Inouye and his wife, Irene, with Pacific Biodiesel co-founder Bob King. The second is the Inouyes and Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.

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— Michael Levine

And here it is, the definitive photo of my first time meeting Representative Tulsi Gabbard, which only served to make me happier she’s representing us in Congress. Thanks to her and her office for showing me much aloha, and making the visit an awesome one!

Another cool fact: The Hawaii state flag adorning her office, which she clearly treasures, was given to her by Congressman Dan Inouye.

Hawaii's Newest Senator Will Ride Air Force One to D.C.

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The White House confirms that Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will hitch a ride on Air Force One to Washington D.C., which departs Wednesday evening so that the president can deal with the fiscal cliff.

White House Press Pool report:

According to a White House official, Senator-designate Brian Schatz, appointed this afternoon to fill the seat held by Daniel Inouye, will fly to DC with the president on Air Force One tonight.

Inouye Holds Court On Elections, Ellison and More

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye is back in the islands this week during a break from Congress. He’s glad to be back, and held a media availability this afternoon at his office in the federal building downtown.

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The conversation ranged widely, from his feelings on colleague Dan Akaka’s legacy (“I’m going to miss him”) to Larry Ellison’s purchase of Lanai (“I gather that the new owner is a good fella”) to funding for the Honolulu rail project to the relocation of military service members to Hawaii.

And of course, there was discussion of elections, with assembled media parsing his words for hints of his preferences on the important races to be decided next month. He acknowledged the curious dynamic, saying that the only way he can remain neutral is to be silent even if he has made up his mind.

Inouye spoke about the lurking menace that is sequestration, which he said would bankrupt the country if allowed to happen.

“I hope to God it never happens,” he said, and continued to push for increased taxes to help balance the budget. He said discretionary spending is already down and entitlements are rising but promises can’t be broken, but billionaire Warren Buffett can’t continue to pay less taxes than his secretary.

“That format cannot sustain a program,” Inouye said. “We have to raise revenues. There’s no question about that.”

— Michael Levine

Hawaii Delegation: House Funding Cut for Rail 'Unfortunate'

Hawaii’s delegation was watching today’s House Appropriations Committee markup too, and they’re not happy with how it went.

Sens. Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka and Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa have just issued a joint press release decrying the cuts to the Honolulu rail funding for the next fiscal year.

Inouye, Hirono and Hanabusa each start off their statements with the phrase, “It is unfortunate…” in reference to the actions of the Republican majority.

Read their full remarks here.

Neither Hirono nor Hanabusa are members of the Appropriations Committee. Inouye will get another crack at this when the House and Senate meet in conference to hash out the differences between their bills.

UPDATE: HART CEO Dan Grabauskas said in a statement later Tuesday that he remains “confident” that Inouye and the delegation will be able to increase the level of funding to keep the project moving forward.

Inouye Knows How to Bring Home the Bacon

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If you’ve ever wondered about the influence of Sen. Dan Inouye, consider the East-West Center.

Amid all the hoopla over the center losing its federal funding, a powerful senior senator steps in and says, Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. 

True to his word, the $16.7 million they needed is now part of an appropriations bill sitting on President Obama’s desk. 

We’ve got the full story.

“One year later, we remember Sen. Dan Inouye with great fondness and affection. The Senator left the people of Hawaii and the nation with a legacy of honor, leadership and excellence that is unmatched.

“He believed in doing what was right for the people of Hawaii, above politics and self-interest.  We will do our best to carry on Sen. Inouye’s tradition of service and live up to his standards of duty, honor and country.

“Today and everyday he will be remembered with love and aloha.”

Photo: Senator Inouye and Governor Abercrombie at the APEC Planning Committee

Inouye Cast In George Takei Documentary

Apparently, Star Trek actor and gay rights activist George Takei will be the subject of a biographical documentary, and Sen. Dan Inouye is among those who will be interviewed.

From Roll Call today:

As part of her research, filmmaker Jennifer Kroot rounded up two prominent politicians who are purportedly tight with the out-and-proud thespian: Inouye and former Transportation Secretary and Rep. Norman Mineta, both of whom are of Japanese ancestry.

“They’ve known George was gay longer than he’s been out in the media,” Kroot said of a group that evidently bonded over their work for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

“Senator Inouye has known George Takei for more than a decade,” Peter Boylan, Inouye’s deputy chief of staff, confirmed. “The Senator considers George a colleague and a friend.”

Read more here.

Michael Levine

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Photo by Flickr user preloc and kanar

Hawaii Getting $500K For Homeless Vets

Two Hawaii organizations will receive a combined half-million dollars to help serve veterans down on their luck.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation put out the news in a press release today.

The United States Veterans Initiative in Kapolei will receive $200,000 and the Mental Health Association of Hawaii will receive $300,000.

Nationwide, 90 grants totaling over $20 million will provide 11,000 vets with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers, according to the press release. It’s all part of the U.S. Labor Department’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

“As we end of the war in Iraq and continue to wind down our campaign in Afghanistan, we must remember that our veterans and their families have voluntarily sacrificed so much to defend our way of life,“ U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye said in the release.

— Michael Levine

Pro-Rail Group Launches BeNiceBen.com

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Let the political gamesmanship begin!

There’s a new website up today — paid for by the pro-rail Pacific Resource Partnership — urging Ben Cayetano to show more respect to Sen. Dan Inouye after the barb at Wednesday’s debate — the first of the 2012 mayoral campaign.

The URL, for your bookmarks, is BeNiceBen.com. That angry-looking photo of Cayetano and a smiling Inouye are at the top of the page. Here’s what the website says:

Did you hear what former Governor Ben Cayetano said at last Wednesday’s mayoral debate?

Governor Cayetano launched into a mean-spirited attack against Hawaii’s distinguished senior senator, saying that Inouye has “never listened to the people” and is “out of touch.”

These sorts of personal attacks have no place in our public discourse. When Ben Cayetano disrespects Senator Inouye – a man of integrity and honor with a distinguished record of public service – he’s disrespecting all of us.

There’s a petition you can sign, and you can tweet with the #BeNiceBen hashtag. The first two to do so are Matt Robertson, a spokesman for the Kirk Caldwell campaign, and Keith Rollman, a former advisor to Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Daniel Inouye: Alaska's Third Senator

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There was a nice piece today on the late Sen. Inouye written by Inuit elder William L. Iggiagruk Hensley, who served the Alaska Legislature for 10 years. Willie recalls meeting Sen. Inouye on a four-day trip the Senator made to Alaska in 1988, when he toured conditions in the small community villages populated mainly by Native Alaskans. The tour was planned by the president of the Alaska Federation of Natives. 

Willie notes that “Sen. Inouye embodied the spiritual essence of a wise leader watching over his people” for Alaska Natives and American Indians. Sen. Inouye’s role as “security blanket” in the American Indian world seems especially poignant in light of today’s assignment of his replacement Brian Schatz to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Willie also remembers Sen. Inouye’s spiritual side, noting “how proud he was to tell me that wherever he went, the rain stopped.” Overall it’s an interesting perspective on “Alaska’s third Senator.”

Governor’s Statement Regarding the Award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sen. Inouye

HONOLULU — The Presidential Medal of Freedom was posthumously awarded to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye today by President Barack Obama. The late Senator, who in 2000 was presented the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton for his service in World War II, was one of 16 honored today with what is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The Governor stated:

The Senator gave everything in his devotion to Hawaii Nei and our nation, a fact now recognized by two United States Presidents and two of our nation’s highest honors. I can think of no one more deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His service was the epitome of valor and the Aloha Spirit.

“The people of Hawaii cherish Dan’s legacy of courage, integrity and service, and we offer our deepest gratitude to the Inouye family.”

Six Years On, Inouye Still Peeved At Case

Dan Inouye was unhappy when then-Congressman Ed Case decided to challenge Sen. Dan Akaka in the 2006 Democratic primary. Apparently, some bad feelings are still lingering.

Inouye has not formally endorsed Mazie Hirono against Case in the race to replace the retiring Akaka, but made some pretty strong statements yesterday on the Big Island, according to the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Inouye said he’d prefer to serve with “someone who I’ve known over the years whose word has been good and trustworthy.”

From the story:

Inouye then brought up the 2006 U.S. Senate primary election battle between Democrat Case, then a member of the U.S. House, and Akaka. Although Inouye never referred to Case by his name during the Tribune-Herald interview, the senator painted a picture of Case that was less than flattering.

“Now, how would you feel if you asked me a question, ‘Are you going to run for the Senate?’ And I told you, ‘No, I’m not running. I’m not going to oppose Akaka.’

“And less than a week later, he opens his campaign headquarters with posters all over the place. And you know very well it takes more than five days to print these things, especially if you’re on the mainland. How would you look upon me as someone you would call a reliable friend?”

Inouye then said he received an invitation to Case’s campaign headquarters.

“What am I supposed to say? ‘Thank you for lying to me.’”

The National Journal picked up the news and broadcast it to a wider audience this morning.

— Michael Levine


Daniel Ken “Dan” Inouye (September 7, 1924 – December 17, 2012) was a United States Senator from Hawaii from 1963 to 2012. He was a member of the Democratic Party, and he was President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death in 2012, making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S. history. Inouye also served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Inouye fought in World War II as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment. He lost his right arm to a grenade wound and received several military decorations. Returning to Hawaii, he earned a law degree and was elected to Hawaii’s territorial House of Representatives in 1953, and to the territorial Senate in 1957. When Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959, Inouye was elected as its first member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1962 he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the first in the U.S. Senate. He never lost an election in 58 years as an elected official, and exercised an outsize influence on Hawaii politics. He was a Medal of Honor recipient and a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • Citation: Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Alaska Has 2 Senators on Appropriations, Good News for Hawaii?

The ties between Hawaii and Alaska in the U.S. Senate run deep. The late Sen. Dan Inouye often called former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens “his brother.”

Now that Alaska has two senators on the Appropriations Committee, could it be a boon from Hawaii? U.S. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska was appointed to the Appropriations seat left vacant by Inouye.

The Associated Press reports: 

That would put both of Alaska’s senators - Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski - on the committee, which Begich said will be an “incredibly powerful opportunity” for the state. But he said in an interview Friday that he also expects to carry on the spirit of cooperation between Alaska and Hawaii, forged over decades by Inouye, of Hawaii, and then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, of Alaska.

Hawaii has one of the most junior delegations in Congress following Inouye’s death last month that ended his 50 years in the Senate, and Sen. Daniel Akaka’s retirement after 22 years.

Read more here:

Inouye's Office 'Disappointed' His Last Wish 'Not Honored'

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Terse statement out of Dan Inouye’s office after the news that Gov. Neil Abercrombie did not choose the late senator’s hand-picked replacement, Colleen Hanabusa

It reads like a rather grudging congratulations:

“Senator Inouye conveyed his final wish to Governor Abercrombie.  While we are very disappointed that it was not honored, it was the Governor’s decision to make.  We wish Brian Schatz the best of luck," Jennifer Sabas, Chief of Staff to former Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, said in a statement.

Read our related coverage:  - Inouye’s Last Wish Is Abercrombie’s Biggest Burden