Senators, politicians, colleagues react to Inouye's death - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senators, politicians, colleagues react to Inouye's death

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Daniel Inouye, a decorated and inspirational war hero who later became the highest-ranking Asian American politician in United States history by serving as the President pro tempore of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, died Monday in Washington.

The following are statements and reaction from fellow politicians, members of Congress, and community leaders from across the United States.

 

Vice President Joe Biden:
"As my mother would say, the greatest virtue of all is courage, and Danny was courage personified. From the battlefields of World War II where he received the Medal of Honor, to the floor of the United States Senate where he displayed incredible moral bravery, he was always the same – courageous and resolute.  He was one of the most honorable men I ever met in my life, and one of the best friends you could hope for. He was honest, and fiercely loyal, and I trusted him absolutely."

"Everyone in the Senate not only admired Danny Inouye, but they trusted him. We all knew he would do the moral thing regardless of the consequences – whether it was passing judgment on a President during Watergate or on another President in the Iran Contra hearings.  And Danny always remembered where he came from – and how hard his family had to struggle. From having to fight for the right to fight for his country in the all Japanese-American 442nd, to his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, he always spoke of the country's struggles with racism and bias, and his call for a "new era of politics." And to his dying day, he fought for a new era of politics where all men and women are treated with equality."

"Above all, Danny was my friend, and Jill and I are praying for his entire family today."

 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend, Danny Inouye. From his earliest days in public service to his last, he inspired others to reach for the American dream – because that's exactly what he did.

No matter what barrier was in his way, Danny shattered it. He was the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in history and the first Japanese-American to serve in the House of Representatives and Senate. He was a soldier, a Medal of Honor recipient and a hero. But despite the accolades from a lifetime of service, he never lost his humility and compassion.

Danny was an icon in his native state of Hawaii and a tireless advocate for the disenfranchised, minorities, and women throughout the country. He spent his life working for a brighter future, and we are all better off for it. I will always cherish his friendship and guidance in the Senate. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Irene, and all those whose lives he touched.

 

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki:
"Senator Daniel K. Inouye stood among the 'greatest' of our 'Greatest Generation.'  Recipient of the Medal of Honor, our Nation's highest award for valor; distinguished service as a long-serving member of the U.S. Senate; and role model to generations of Americans of Asian-Pacific Islander heritage, especially those growing up in his beloved Hawai'i, Senator Inouye made public service a noble and honorable calling.  Dan Inouye's courage on the battlefield and in Congress, his passion for making a difference in the lives of average Americans, and his intense modesty spoke volumes about a remarkable American, who embodied the bedrock values and quiet virtues of our Nation.  On behalf of America's 22 million Veterans, I salute the memory of a brave man, a great patriot, a devoted public servant, an unwavering benefactor to Servicemembers and Veterans of every generation, and my friend and mentor.  I extend my deepest personal condolences to the entire Inouye family."

 

Hawaii Gov. 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."

 

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle:
"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."

 

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi:
"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," Mayor Kenoi said. "I will never forget that lesson."

Many of Hawai‘i's leaders walked through Senator Inouye's office – including Mayor Kenoi, who worked as an intern in Inouye's office in the summer of 1992. "He gave me opportunity, and he supported me every step of the way," Mayor Kenoi said. "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 Hawai‘i," Mayor Kenoi said. "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, Mayor Kenoi said.

"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.

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"My dear friend, Senator Daniel Inouye, the Senior Senator from Hawaii, was one of the finest men I have known in my lifetime. He was one of the most distinguished senators this body has ever seen. He was a soldier of incomparable bravery and a man of uncommon decency, and it is with deep sadness that I mark his passing.

"As a young man, Senator Inouye demonstrated the kind of bravery that challenges us all to rise to a higher standard. Although Senator Inouye and other Japanese-Americans were exempt from the draft, he volunteered to fight for our flag. He volunteered, even though the families of so-called Nisei soldiers were imprisoned in American internment camps. Senator Inouye was wounded in battle saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. For his acts of valor, he received the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow.

"Senator Inouye's son once asked him why – after being called ‘enemy aliens' and after being held in internment camps – he and the members of the famed 442nd fought so heroically. Senator Inouye told his son that he fought ‘for the children.' For children, there could be no finer role model than Senator Inouye.

"Today, my thoughts are with his family, including his wife Irene, son Ken, daughter-in-law Jessica, step-daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Maggie. Their loss is the nation's, as today we all lost a pioneer and a noble soul."

 

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell:
"Senator Daniel Inouye was a man who rarely called attention to himself but who lived a remarkable American life filled with the dignity and grace of a true hero.

"Senator Inouye was only 17 when he heard the sirens over Honolulu and saw the gray planes flying overhead. At the time he dreamed of being a surgeon. A few years later, a medic would be taking care of him after his heroic actions in the Italian mountains for which he would one day receive our nation's most prestigious award for military valor.

"Dan Inouye's dream of being a surgeon was not realized, but there were other things in store. Instead, he became a member of one of the most decorated U.S. military units in American history and one our nation's longest-serving and finest senators.

"An iconic political figure of his beloved Hawaii, and the only original member of a congressional delegation still serving in Congress, he was a man who had every reason to call attention to himself but who never did.

"He was the kind of man, in short, that America has always been grateful to have, especially in her darkest hours, men who lead by example and who expect nothing in return."

 

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."

 

Former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann:
"Hawaii and our nation have lost a great statesman and hero with the passing of US Senator Daniel K. Inouye."

"I will always cherish the moments I spent with him, and I am grateful for all of his wonderful assistance throughout my career in the many initiatives we worked on together, especially during my time as Mayor of Honolulu."

"The entire Hannemann ‘ohana sends our most heartfelt sympathies and prayers to Irene, Kenny, and the whole Inouye family."

 

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 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." 

 

Kim Gennaula, President of the Aloha United Way:
"All of us at Aloha United Way are truly saddened by the passing of our great Senator Daniel Inouye. He was a strong supporter of the United Way mission. In fact, just a few months ago Senator Inouye hosted an Aloha United Way luncheon among nearly 30 top Hawaii CEOs – urging them to commit to supporting Aloha United Way.  Senator Inouye reminded them of their importance in "caring for the less fortunate among us" and his luncheon led to more than a dozen CEOs coming on to the Aloha United Way Board of Directors this year.  Senator Inouye always had time to care deeply about others and give his endorsement to things he felt were good for our State."

 

Walter A. Dods Jr., Local Businessman
"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.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH:
"Senator Daniel Inouye was a remarkable man who lived his life with an incredible commitment to our country. As a soldier and as a Senator, he demonstrated an unbreakable resolve and a fierce devotion to the United States. With his passing, our country has lost a hero."

 

Senator Patty Murray, D-WA:
"Danny Inouye was an American hero of the highest order. As a soldier he broke barriers with his heroism, as a proud Hawaiian he committed his life's work to serving the people of his state, and as a legislator he earned the admiration of everyone he ever worked withon both sides of the aisle, including me.

"He will be particularly missed among the people of the Pacific Northwest, many of whom will never realize the enduring legacy he has had in investing in our infrastructure, bolstering our economy, and keeping our military installations strong.

"When the truly remarkable Senators of our time are discussed Senator Inouye's name will always be right at the top. He gave everything he had for his country and for the state he served since being elected its very first Congressman.

"My thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time. I also know that in time all that he achieved and stood for will be appropriately honored and celebrated here in Washington D.C. and back in Hawaii."

 

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA:
"Senator Inouye was a quiet force in the U.S. Senate.  He had a strong work ethic and was very productive on behalf of the entire United States and, of course, his beloved state of Hawaii.  Because he was restrained in his demeanor, when he spoke, he commanded attention.  He was well-respected in the Senate for his lifelong statesmanship and for his early displays of courage and sacrifice for our country.   My thoughts are with his family." 

"Senator Daniel Inouye was a remarkable man who lived his life with an incredible commitment to our country. As a soldier and as a Senator, he demonstrated an unbreakable resolve and a fierce devotion to the United States. With his passing, our country has lost a hero."

 

Senator Patty Murray, D-WA:
"Danny Inouye was an American hero of the highest order. As a soldier he broke barriers with his heroism, as a proud Hawaiian he committed his life's work to serving the people of his state, and as a legislator he earned the admiration of everyone he ever worked withon both sides of the aisle, including me.

"He will be particularly missed among the people of the Pacific Northwest, many of whom will never realize the enduring legacy he has had in investing in our infrastructure, bolstering our economy, and keeping our military installations strong.

"When the truly remarkable Senators of our time are discussed Senator Inouye's name will always be right at the top. He gave everything he had for his country and for the state he served since being elected its very first Congressman.

"My thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time. I also know that in time all that he achieved and stood for will be appropriately honored and celebrated here in Washington D.C. and back in Hawaii."

 

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA:
"Senator Inouye was a quiet force in the U.S. Senate.  He had a strong work ethic and was very productive on behalf of the entire United States and, of course, his beloved state of Hawaii.  Because he was restrained in his demeanor, when he spoke, he commanded attention.  He was well-respected in the Senate for his lifelong statesmanship and for his early displays of courage and sacrifice for our country.   My thoughts are with his family." 

 

House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson:
"The passing of Senator Daniel Inouye today leaves a deep void in many hearts across our state and our nation. His remarkable commitment to the people that he served throughout his long and impressive career is incomparable, both as U.S. senator for 50 years and in combat in World War II. He was a dedicated statesman and will forever be remembered as one of Hawaii's most influential and beloved individuals.

Senator Inouye was a tremendous role model to members of our caucus and so many other public servants, regardless of political affiliation. His legacy will live on in the countless people he so profoundly inspired." 

 

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood:
"This was an extraordinary man with a legacy which will never be surpassed. His lifelong devotion to the university of his home land is well known. He was our most distinguished graduate and we are the grateful beneficiaries of the generosity he showed to us for decades. His longstanding support for the university and its new programs contributed immensely to the university's international reputation and helped make it one of the premier research institutions in the nation and the world. His contributions to us can simply not be measured." 

President Greenwood also said, "On a personal note, our hearts go out to his family and his devoted staff and we grieve along with them. Senator Inouye was a man of great compassion and dignity. It was a privilege for me to have known him. He left his mark on the world and changed the lives of many for the better. We are grateful that he passed our way and left his legacy, and we will always be in his debt.  And now we must go forward as he would have expected us to do. "

 

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."

 

Statement from the ACLU:
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 U.S. 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.

 

The Hawaii Republican Party:
The Hawaii Republican Party and I would like to extend our deepest condolences and prayers to Senator Inouye's family and friends. With his passing, Hawaii lost a great champion. From his medal of honor in World War II to his years of public service, Senator Inouye's heart and mind were always with his home state of Hawaii. He will be leaving behind a legacy of selfless service that will always be remembered.

 

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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