Daniel Inouye

American politician (1924–2012) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Daniel Ken Inouye (/ˈnˌ/ ee-NOH-ay;[1] September 7, 1924 – December 17, 2012) was an American attorney, soldier, and politician who served as a United States senator from Hawaii from 1963 until his death in 2012. Beginning in 1959, he was the first U.S. Representative for the State of Hawaii, and a Medal of Honor recipient. A member of the Democratic Party, he also served as the president pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death.[2] Inouye was the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in U.S. history[3] until Kamala Harris became vice president in 2021.[4] Inouye also chaired various senate committees, including those on Intelligence, Indian Affairs, Commerce, and Appropriations.

Quick facts: Daniel Inouye, United States Senator from Haw...
Daniel Inouye
Official portrait, 2008
United States Senator
from Hawaii
In office
January 3, 1963  December 17, 2012
Preceded byOren Long
Succeeded byBrian Schatz
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
June 28, 2010  December 17, 2012
Preceded byRobert Byrd
Succeeded byPatrick Leahy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's at-large district
In office
August 21, 1959  January 3, 1963
Preceded byJohn Burns (Delegate)
Succeeded byThomas Gill
Personal details
Daniel Ken Inouye

(1924-09-07)September 7, 1924
Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, U.S.
DiedDecember 17, 2012(2012-12-17) (aged 88)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Resting placeNational Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Political partyDemocratic
Margaret Shinobu Awamura
(m. 1948; died 2006)
(m. 2008)
EducationUniversity of Hawaii, Manoa (BA)
George Washington University (JD)
Military service
AllegianceFlag_of_the_United_States_%281912-1959%29.svg United States
Branch/serviceFlag_of_the_United_States_Army.svg United States Army
Years of service1943–1947
RankUS-O3_insignia.svg Captain
Unit442nd Regimental Combat Team
Battles/warsWorld War II (WIA)
AwardsMedal of Honor recipient Medal of Honor
Bronze_Star_Medal_ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple_Heart_ribbon.svg Purple Heart
European-African-Middle_Eastern_Campaign_ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World_War_II_Victory_Medal_ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom_%28ribbon%29.svg Presidential Medal of Freedom
Other offices

Inouye fought in World War II as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment. He lost his right arm to a grenade wound and received several military decorations, including the Medal of Honor (the nation's highest military award). He later earned a J.D. degree from George Washington University Law School. Returning to Hawaii, Inouye was elected to Hawaii's territorial House of Representatives in 1953, and was elected to the territorial Senate in 1957. When Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959, Inouye was elected as its first member of the House of Representatives. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962. He never lost an election in 58 years as an elected official, and he exercised an exceptionally large influence on Hawaii politics.

Inouye was the second Asian American senator, following Hawaii Republican Hiram Fong. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first to serve in the U.S. Senate. Because of his seniority, Inouye became president pro tempore of the Senate following the death of Robert Byrd on June 28, 2010, making him third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Inouye was a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the Paulownia Flowers. Among other public structures, Honolulu International Airport has since been renamed Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in his memory.

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