Hawaii Political Leaders Weigh in on Senator Inouye’s Passing

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Daniel K. Inouye

“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.”

– State Representative Derek Kawakami served as Senator Inouye’s Kauai campaign co-chair in 2004.  Representative Kawakami’s Uncle George, served in the 442 as well as being the field representative for Senator Inouye for the island of Kauai from 1974-2001.  Senator Inouye’s father Hyotaro and H.S Kawakami were classmates at Mills School which later became Mid Pacific Institute.



“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.”

—- House Speaker Calvin Say


“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.” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTDEu1_Idqw/)

 — Gov. Neil Abercrombie


“The death of Senator Daniel Inouye today is a tremendous loss to our state and our nation. He was larger than life and had an impact far beyond his beloved Island State.  In his own life, he shattered many barriers, more than deserved the Medal of Honor, and always fought for his positions and for Hawaii. He was a true hero and was the foundation of Hawaii’s economy. His ability to get things done is legendary, unsurpassed, and he always crossed partisan lines.

“When my Father, a WWII combat veteran died and was buried in Punchbowl National Cemetery, Senator Inouye sent me a warm, personal note. He also sent me notes on my election to public office and we had the opportunity to discuss our different views at the State Capitol. He was always a gentleman and someone who will be sorely missed. Hawaii is very fortunate to have had his leadership. His legacy will continue for the ages. My personal sympathy for Senator Inouye’s family.”

— Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom


“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.”

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


“It is with great sadness that Stacey and I learned of Senator Inouye’s passing.  There has been no more consistent or passionate advocate for the people of Hawai’i for nearly 60 years. Senator Inouye was an American hero and selfless public servant, and it was an honor to serve with him in Hawaii’s congressional delegation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

— Charles Djou, former Congressman (R-HI – 2010)


Today is a truly sad day for U.S. Pacific Command, the State of Hawaii, and all of us who have valued our relationship and time spent with Senator Inouye over the many years.  Sen. Inouye’s dedication to Hawaii, its men and women in uniform, and to this great Nation was exceptional and set a true example of devotion to Country that all would do good to follow.  We have lost a great friend, a true national hero, a tireless public servant and an irreplaceable American.  We will all miss him.



“I send my sincere condolences to Senator Inouye’s family and hope to speak with his wife Irene about how to best respect the senator’s wishes and memory. I will be in Washington, DC tomorrow and expect to comment further on Wednesday.”

– Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle 


“Beyond the titles, beyond the power and the influence, what most stands out is his thoughtfulness, his kindness and how he treated everyone with respect and aloha. I will never forget that lesson. I look to him with the same respect, honor and love that I feel for my parents.”

“Senator Inouye was a friend and a mentor to generations of public servants. He always encouraged all of us to fight for what we believe in, to stand up for what is right, and most importantly, to give everything we have to serve the people of Hawaii.  He taught all of us how to conduct ourselves as public servants.

“Senator Inouye was a leader who embodied the best of yesterday, who served our community the best he could every day, and who was always mindful of tomorrow, of future generations. He was a tireless advocate for the people of Hawai‘i. Takako and I, our family, and our community are honored and privileged to have had him as a part of our lives.”

— Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi





  1. Ed Case warned us back in 2006 that we needed to get some new blood in the Congress. He warned that should both Dans leave the Senate at the same time, Hawaii would face a huge deficit in seniority and experience in the Congress.
    It looks like that's exactly what happened.

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