Maui News

VIDEO: Local Reaction to Sen. Inouye’s Passing

December 17, 2012, 2:42 PM HST
* Updated December 17, 4:51 PM
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Sen. Daniel Inouye is pictured here with his wife, Irene Hirano during a recent luncheon visit to University of Hawai`i Maui College. File photo courtesy UH-Maui College.

[flashvideo file= /] By Wendy Osher

Local reaction to the passing of US Senator Daniel Inouye has been filled with gratitude, sorrow, and sentiment for the decades of service provided to the people of Hawaii and the nation as a whole.

Senator Inouye served as Hawaii’s first congressman following statehood, and then ran for US Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

The following statements are among the condolences from friends and government leaders here in Hawaii:

Governor Neil Abercrombie:

“The Senator gave everything. He knew the true meaning of ‘Go for Broke.’ He left us with a legacy of honor and service to the people of Hawaii, to the people of this nation, without parallel.

“The Senator recently made clear to me his love and affection for us all. He said: ‘I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did okay.’ I’m sure we all believe he did okay.

“Our responsibility is to not just carry on but carry through on his total devotion and commitment to Hawaii and its values. Our thoughts, hearts and deepest aloha go out to his wife, Irene; son, Ken; and the entire Inouye family.”


US Senator Daniel K. Akaka:

It is very difficult for me to bid aloha to my good friend, colleague, and brother Dan Inouye. Senator Inouye was a true patriot and American hero in every sense. His legacy is not only the loving family he leaves behind, it can be seen in every mile of every road in Hawaii, in every nature preserve, in every facility that makes Hawaii a safer place.

Dan fulfilled his dream of creating a better Hawaii. He gave us access to the resources and facilities of the mainland states took for granted. He leaves behind him a list of accomplishments unlikely to ever be paralleled.

Tomorrow will be the first day since Hawaii became a state in 1959 that Dan Inouye will not be representing us in Congress. But every child born in Hawaii will learn of Dan Inouye, a man who changed our islands forever.

I join all of the people of Hawaii in praying for his wife Irene, his son Ken and daughter-in-law Jessica, his step-daughter Jennifer, and his granddaughter Maggie, who brought him so much joy in this life and carries his legacy forward.

Dan, my dear friend and colleague. You will be missed in Washington as much as you will be missed in Hawaii. Rest in peace.


Congresswoman and Senator elect Mazie Hirono:

I join the people of Hawaii in mourning the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. This is a tremendous loss for Hawaii and our nation, and I am deeply saddened and shocked my longtime friend is no longer with us.

History will remember Dan Inouye as a decorated war hero – a Medal of Honor recipient – and monumental figure in Hawaii’s statehood. Throughout his life, he fought and sacrificed for the ideals of freedom and justice. His record speaks for itself. Despite his significant accomplishments, Dan Inouye never forgot where he came from. His values, work, and sense of honor were strongly rooted in Hawaii, and he pursued his vision for America with humility and bipartisanship. It has been an honor and privilege to serve with him in Congress, and I will work to see that we continue to build on the strong foundation he has left Hawaii and the United States of America.

“My heart goes out to his wife Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., and the many family, friends, colleagues, and citizens who will miss him dearly. While we lost a great public servant and human being today, his memory is guaranteed to live on for generations to come.”

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa:

“I am greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Hawaii’s beloved Senator Daniel K. Inouye. It is a tremendous loss to our state. My thoughts are with his wife Irene, his son Kenny and his family, and all of Senator Inouye’s staff, who he treated as his extended family.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye dedicated his entire adult life to service to America and Hawaii. As a volunteer soldier fighting in Europe during World War II, as a Territorial legislator, and as a member of Congress, he never wavered in his commitment to placing the needs of the people he served before his own.

His bravery in battle earned him the Medal of Honor. His focus on Hawaii’s needs brought countless projects to fruition, including Hawaii’s East West Center. His Congressional career earned him a national reputation through his service on the Watergate commission; chairing the special committee on the Iran-Contra investigation; and serving as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as President Pro Tem of the Senate, which placed him third in line of succession to the presidency.

But beyond his well-deserved professional accolades, I am proud to have called Dan Inouye a friend and a mentor. His professional generosity and personal kindness have meant the world to me. I attribute a great deal of the success I have enjoyed to his willingness to share with a smile, and to guide with a gentle word. I will miss him, and I join our state and our nation in mourning the loss of a great American and a wonderful man.”

Congresswoman elect Tulsi Gabbard said:

“I am deeply saddened at the passing of Senator Inouye. He is a true American hero, sacrificing in battle and breaking the barriers of prejudice that existed during World War II. After serving so admirably and bravely, Dan Inouye returned to Hawaii and began his distinguished career as an elected servant of the people.

“Senator Inouye was a true servant-leader who inspired so many to step up and serve Hawaii and our nation. The fact his last word was “Aloha” speaks volumes about this iconic leader.

“He has and will continue to be an inspiration and mentor to me and countless others around the world. I extend my deepest aloha to his family and all who were touched by his life and legacy.”


Hawaii State Senate President Shan Tsutsui:

“Today, we have lost a true American hero. Senator Dan Inouye served the people of Hawaii and our country with great dignity and honor. A true statesman, his lifelong work has left an indelible mark on Hawaii and he leaves behind a legacy that we will never forget. We express our heartfelt condolences to the Inouye ohana and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Speaker of the House, Calvin K.Y. Say:

“This is an extremely sad day for Hawaii. On behalf of the House of Representatives, words cannot express the profound impact Senator Inouye had upon our state and our nation. He helped shape our state since statehood, and devoted his life to public service, for which Hawaii will be eternally grateful. He has truly been a great hero for our people, past and present, and he will remain one of the great historical figures in Hawaii’s history for time immemorial. We are deeply saddened by the news of the Senator’s passing and extend our prayers and condolences to his wife, Irene Hirano, and his son, Ken Inouye and his family.”

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa:

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. “Ever since Senator Inouye began his career in public service in 1954 he has always championed the interests of Hawai`i’s people.

His service to Maui County, the state and the entire nation will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones during this very difficult time.”

Walter A. Dods, Jr.:

Diane and I are both devastated by the passing of Senator Dan Inouye. We have been personal friends for more than 40 years and I was honored to serve as his campaign manager for three decades.

It wasn’t hard to persuade people to vote for Dan. He was a man of intellect, character and strong beliefs. Both as a heroic young soldier in World War II, and in his 53 years of service in Washington, he brought energy and idealism that never wavered.

Just this weekend, I asked him how he wanted to be remembered. He said to me: “As somebody who worked hard for the people of Hawaii. I think I did OK.”

He did far more than “OK.” Hawaii has never seen his like and never will again. Perhaps only now that he is gone will it become clear how much his presence in our Nation’s Capital meant to Hawaii.

All of Hawaii’s citizens will feel the loss of this political giant. As his friends. we’ll miss him terribly.

ACLU Mourns Passing of Sen. Inouye:

The ACLU mourns the passing of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and sends its condolences to his family, friends, staff and the people of Hawaii.

Sen. Inouye was a champion of civil rights and civil liberties. He was a decorated soldier, who embodied passionate patriotism in his defense of American values in the United States Senate.

Some of his notable contributions to civil liberties include support for women’s rights and equal pay, support for the preservation of the Voting Rights Act, and support for civil rights laws that included persons with disabilities.

As the first Japanese-American in Congress and the first member of the US House from Hawaii, he was a pioneer. He was also a trailblazer when it came to supporting LGBT equality. He was one of six Senators who in 1996 voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” a discriminatory policy that allowed gays and lesbians to be banned from military service merely because of their sexual orientation.

He was a tireless foe of discrimination. The ACLU joined him in his successful legislative battle to get reparations for those Japanese Americans who were wrongfully interned in government compounds during World War II. Sen. Inouye fought every iteration of proposed constitutional amendments to ban flag desecration – support that was particularly meaningful to the defense of free speech because of his military service.

Sen. Inouye’s presence in the United States Senate will be sorely missed.

State Representative Derek Kawakami:

“Kauai, Hawaii, the United States of America have lost a champion, a hero, and a friend today. The stories of his courage and bravery are traits that make legends out of individuals. Many of us never imagined that he could be vulnerable. He has accomplished and helped out more people in one lifetime than many of us would be able to do in a hundred lifetimes. Our hearts and prayers are with the Senator’s family.”

Mark. E. Recktenwald, Chief Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court:

On behalf of the Hawaii State Judiciary, I extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Inouye and the Senator’s family. Senator Inouye dedicated his life to serving the people of Hawaii and our nation. He was a decorated war hero, a great statesman, and a tireless advocate for equality and justice. His passing is a great loss.

Maui Democratic Party leaders:

“Although we are at a loss for words on the passing of our beloved Senator, we have so much to celebrate. The members of the Maui County Democratic Party are truly appreciative of the Senator’s remarkable life and service to not only the people of Hawaii, but our entire country. We will take his love for Hawaii nei and his commitment for a strong and democratic nation and share it with generations to come. We send a fond aloha to our Senator on a job well done,” said Troy Hashimoto, Maui County Democratic Party Corresponding Secretary.

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