POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 22, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 6:35 a.m. HST, Dec 22, 2012
U.S. Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard said Friday she is "taking a moment" to grieve the loss of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye before thinking about applying for the vacancy created by his death Monday.
"It really is unthinkable for me, right now, to even talk about that, as we've just watched the beautiful service in the National Cathedral for him and as we bring him home to put him to rest," Gabbard said in an interview Friday. "I know myself along with so many other people are mourning the loss that we all share, and that's where I'm at.
"Like many others I'm taking this moment to grieve for him and for all of Hawaii."
Inouye was remembered in Washington, D.C., on Friday with a service at the National Cathedral attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and other dignitaries. Services and memorials continue for Inouye in Hawaii today and Sunday.
Meanwhile, former state Rep. Blake Oshiro, an aide to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, confirmed he has applied for the vacancy, and state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa) announced her intent to apply. Kim is vice president of the state Senate and serves as chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability, which most recently investigated the University of Hawaii's handling of a bogus Stevie Wonder concert.
Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kiaaina, who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, also applied, a source said.
Others who have applied or announced their intent to apply for the vacancy include U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, state Sen. Will Espero and Tony Gill, chairman of the Oahu Democrats.
Abercrombie must appoint a replacement from a list of three names provided by the state Democratic Party. The party has said it will accept applications until 5 p.m. Monday and whittle the list to three at a meeting of the state central committee on Dec. 28.
As of Friday afternoon the state Democratic Party had received 11 applications for the vacancy. Party Chairman Dante Carpenter said the list of applicants will be made public after the Monday deadline passes.
Inouye, in a letter delivered shortly before his death to Abercrombie, asked that Hanabusa be appointed as his replacement. Abercrombie said this week he feels any talk of who he might nominate is premature until he receives the list of nominees. Abercrombie also said he does not want to preclude the work of the central committee by indicating any preference.