Daniel Inouye

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Daniel Ken Inouye, a member of the Democratic Party, is presently the senior United States Senator from Hawaii. In 1959 he became the first member of the United States House of Representatives to hail from the new state of Hawaii and the first Japanese-American member of Congress. He was reelected to the House in 1960. Inouye was first elected to the United States Senate in 1962 and has been reelected every six years since then. He is one of the few Senators that have been in the U.S. Senate for more than 40 years, a distinction rarely achieved.

Inouye is the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which means that Hawaii has received more than its fair share of 'pork' over the years.

Inouye was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Activities, known as the Watergate Committee, formed in 1973 to investigate presidential involvement in a burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic National Campaign Headquarters located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. The televised hearings thrust Sen. Inouye into the national spotlight.

From 1975 to 1979, Inouye was Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. From 1987 to 1995, and 2001 to 2003, Inouye served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Inouye was also involved in the Iran-Contra investigations of the 1980s, chairing a special committee from 1987 until 1989.

In 1993, he was instrumental in engineering the restoration and return of Kahoolawe, an island that had been used as target practice by the military, to the State of Hawaii.

Background

Born on September 7, 1924, Inouye spent his childhood in Hawaii. In 1943, Inouye, then a 18-year-old, freshman in pre-medical studies at the University of Hawaii, enlisted in the U.S. Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the famed "Go For Broke" regiment. In 1944, Inouye's unit was sent to the French Vosges Mountains after nearly three months in the Rome Arno campaign. In France, Inouye's unit spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing a Texas Battalion surrounded by German forces.

Back in Italy, the 442nd saw further combat and Inouye sustained serious injury to his right arm which he eventually lost. In 1947, he was honorably discharged and returned home as a Captain with a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart with cluster. His Distinguished Service Cross was recently upgraded to a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. He received that medal from the President Clinton on June 21, 2000.

He went to college on the GI Bill, and by 1953 had become a lawyer. Soon afterward he was elected to the territorial legislature, of which he was a member until shortly before Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959.

In 1968 President Johnson recomended that Hubert Humphrey pick Inouye as his running mate. [1]



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