We learned with sadness this week of the passing of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye. At age 88, Sen. Inouye was the longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate; his was a face and character that came to symbolize, for many, the state he represented.
Alaskans, and particularly residents of the YK-Delta, knew him as the best friend and “brother” of our own Senator Ted Stevens. They were both World War II veterans and shared a sense of service to their country that transcended political party divisions. Although Inouye was a Democrat and Stevens a Republican, we often heard Stevens say, “we can disagree without being disagreeable.” We can’t help but feel that attitude is sorely needed today.
Like Stevens, Inouye was a great champion for his state, and for the Native people of his state. Inouye was also a long time member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a staunch supporter of tribal self-governance.
We join our Hawaiian friends, his Senate colleagues and all Americans in expressing our condolences and sincere respects for his wife and family.