Asian American Mourns Death of Senator Daniel K. Inouye
WASHINGTON—Asian American and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice is deeply saddened by the death of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. As Hawaii’s first Congressman, he was later elected to the U.S. Senate where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms. In 2010, Inouye became President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, third in line for the U.S. Presidency.
“Today, we lost a true American hero, in the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of AAJC. “A fierce advocate and leader for civil and human rights, we send our thoughts and prayers to the Senator’s family.”
Inouye began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He served with ‘E’ company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Inouye lost his arm charging a series of machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.
In 1979, Inouye was instrumental in advising his colleagues and the Asian American community toward the U.S. redress and reparations for the Japanese American Internment. His strategy in creating a Blue Ribbon Commission to investigate the World War II incarceration resulted in a bill that created the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, which ultimately led to the passage of the Japanese American Redress Act by Congress in 1988.
“Our sympathy goes out to his family and to the people in Hawaii whom he represented so well,” said Moua. “A decorated World War II veteran and the longest serving public servant in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Inouye’s legacy lives on.”
As President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, Inouye was the highest-ranking Asian American in U.S. Government. Inouye also served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Commerce Committee and was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.