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Schatz Statement on the Passing of Senator Daniel K. Akaka

HONOLULU – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement on the passing of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka.

“When Daniel K. Akaka went to Washington, he always took Hawai‘i with him. His unbending source of strength was the people and land he loved so much.

“Senator Akaka served his country as a welder, public school principal, gubernatorial aide, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator. As a World War II Army veteran, his life was changed by the GI bill, and he believed in the government’s power to improve people’s lives—a guiding principle during his 36 years of service in Congress. He wrote and passed into law a 21st century GI bill, which updated and expanded services for veterans and their families. He spent years on the Indian Affairs Committee fighting for Native Hawaiians. He pushed for workers’ rights and good governance, enacting whistleblower protections as the chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management. Every national park in Hawai‘i is better because of him; he expanded or improved each one, as well as the federally authorized National Tropical Botanical Garden. Senator Akaka also left his mark on the Dodd-Frank Act by making sure it improved financial literacy and expanded consumer and investor protections, and he secured funding for the H-3 as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and passed into law the Commercial Space Launch Act.

“Even after he left the Senate in 2012, Senator Akaka continued to lead. People looked to him for guidance and mentorship because of his strong moral compass as a policy maker and family man. He was a devoted husband to Millie and loving father and grandfather to a large ohana. Our thoughts are with his family in this difficult time. He will be well remembered and greatly missed.”