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Inouye's letter details his 'last wish' for his successor

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 01:17 p.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye told Gov. Neil Abercrombie that he believed U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa possesses the intellect, presence and legislative skill to succeed in the Senate.

The personal letter was delivered to Abercrombie on Monday morning.

Inouye, who died on Monday of respiratory complications at 88, informed Abercrombie that he would not be able to complete his ninth six-year term in the Senate.

While Inouye said he understood that appointing a successor was Abercrombie's responsibility, he asked that the governor choose Hanabusa, who represents urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District. He described the request as his "last wish."

"It is with much sadness that I share with you, that I will not be able to complete my ninth term in the United States Senate," Inouye wrote. "While I understand that selecting someone to serve out the remainder of my term is fully your responsibility, I respectfully request that U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa succeed me, and continue the work, together with Mazie, on behalf of Hawaii in the U.S. Senate. Colleen possesses the intellect, presence and legislative skill to succeed in the Senate. I have no doubt that she will represent Hawaii with the same fervor and commitment that I brought to the Senate chamber since 1962. 

"I hope you will grant me my last wish. God Bless the people of Hawaii and God Bless the United States of America."

Hanabusa issued a written statement today.

"I am honored that Senator Inouye has mentioned my name as his successor in the U.S. Senate, but I also want to respect the process set forth in Hawaii law," Hanabusa said. "Succession will be determined in due time. Right now, I believe that our focus should be on honoring Senator Inouye and his tremendous contributions to Hawaii and America."

Abercrombie discussed portions of the letter publicly on Monday, but did not talk about Inouye's recommendation. Inouye's office released the letter today.

The governor sent a letter to the Democratic Party of Hawaii Monday asking the party  to send him the names of three nominees to fill Inouye's seat within 21 days, as required by Hawaii law.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii will recommend three candidates for Abercrombie to consider in his appointment. The appointed senator will serve until voters in 2014 choose a senator to fill out the remainder of Inouye's term through 2016.

Sen. Inouye's letter to Gov. Abercrombie


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Remembering Sen. Daniel Inouye Part III


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TTPwr wrote:
As much as I appreciate all the the Senator did for us, both Senator Hirono and a possible Senator Hanabusa will mean that each of our senators will be well into their 70's by the time they accumulate any serious seniority. We would be much better off if one of our new senators was someone in his/her 40's or early 50's so that they might eventually gain something near the seniority that Sen Dan had.
on December 18,2012 | 10:53AM
Puuloa wrote:
Exactly. That's why Blake Oshiro should be appointed by the Governor. His commitment to the people, to the party, and especially to the Governor, is immeasurable. He is the best candidate for the honor.
on December 18,2012 | 08:02PM
Kapuna wrote:
The Junior Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has the youth to stick it out long. and the Votes of the people behind her. Regretably, despite all his good, Dan only supported other Japanese for office, but most feel to have only on ethnic group. controling over govt is NOT a healthy thing, There for I respectful disagree with Dan on old fashion racism.
on December 18,2012 | 10:01PM
false wrote:
Dear Spoon,

What are you talking about? Dan Inouye supported Danny Akaka for office. He supported Mufi Hannemann in several elections, both for Mayor and Governor. He supported Tulsi Gabbard for the Congressional race. Maybe it is not Senator Inouye who was racist, but you?

on December 21,2012 | 10:37PM
false wrote:
Inouye supported Kirk Caldwell for Mayor. Another Japanese, I guess.
on December 21,2012 | 10:58PM
what wrote:
Honesty and Integrity? There's reason to doubt that. Wasn't Hanabusa or her family the one that got the sweet deal on a property from a land developer interest out by Ihilani?
on December 18,2012 | 10:58AM
mcc wrote:
From Jeff .Stone.
on December 18,2012 | 11:42AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
How is it a sweetheart deal? Even reporter Jim Dooley, who wrote articles in 2004 and then in 2010 tying Hanabusa to the land developer Peter Stone, said in a 3/4/2004 piece he wrote for the Honolulu Advertiser, "The $569,000 price Souza paid for the three-bedroom, two-bath unit appears to be generally in line with prices that Stone's company charged other buyers." Secondly, Dooley went on to report that the 6% mortgage rate that Stone provided was more than what was readily available from other financiers at the time. That anyone made a $400,000 profit in 2005 by selling a property they bought in 2003 seems lacking any scent of scandal, much less newsworthiness, considering Hawaii real estate/mortgage market at the time.
on December 18,2012 | 11:57AM
honopic wrote:
Vulture. Can't you at least let Senator Inouye be laid to rest before spreading your filth?
on December 18,2012 | 03:11PM
Wazdat wrote:
Please NO.....Lets NOT promote this lady. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE IT...wake up hawaii
on December 18,2012 | 11:01AM
honopic wrote:
Another vulture. Where is your heart? Where is your aloha?
on December 18,2012 | 03:11PM
Holomua wrote:
For some reason, I find this somewhat pathetic. Last wish? Really?
on December 18,2012 | 11:11AM
Mythman wrote:
In other words, what happened was he was resigning, as shown by the letter to Neil, then he died? Is this what really happened, Derrick?
on December 18,2012 | 12:07PM
honopic wrote:
Yes, really. He took the time, knowing he had precious little time left, to speak from his heart. Why is your heart so cold?
on December 18,2012 | 03:12PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Governor has no choice but to honor this request or completely alienate the Kepani population and that is something no Hawaii politician would ever do. Hanabusa is in. The interesting question is who takes her slot. Did ya see the Mufster out running around yesterday, jumping up and down and saying "me!, me! me!"
on December 18,2012 | 11:21AM
poidragon wrote:
Actually, Neko, he does not! What the Governor must do is follow the rules of succession according to the laws in the State of Hawaii, and those laws do not give him, sufficient justification to give the seat to Hanabusa. It will be up to the Democratic party to come up with a list of perspective candidates to fill the Senator's seat, and it is from that list of candidates that Gov Abercrombie must pick from. but knowing the history of the Dem party in Hawaii, they will do something completely stupid and upset the political apple cart and ignore the political ramifications upon making their choice! Giving the seat to Hanabusa would be a slap in the face for the voters, who elected her to the House of Representatives.
on December 18,2012 | 11:55AM
Mythman wrote:
"a slap in the face to voters" Ha, Ha, Ha - what a pathetic joke. EVERYTHING that the pols do here is a kick in the pants to voters - it's the Name of the Game - DOMINATION of the weak by the slick.......
on December 18,2012 | 12:11PM
Fred01 wrote:
The voters who elected Hanabusa slapped every decent person in this state in the face. She is a shameful choice.
on December 18,2012 | 01:17PM
honopic wrote:
Which are you? I say weak. Don't like it here? There are 49 other states where you can spread your slime.
on December 18,2012 | 03:14PM
inverse wrote:
You got that right. George Orwell's Animal Farm is playing front and center in the State of Hawaii and why not, it is working and people in charge are getting away with it.
on December 20,2012 | 09:30AM
Allenk wrote:
I did not know that Inouye could anoint a successor to his seat in congress. I agree with poidragon that the law should be followed and if the chips fall toward Hanabusa, so be it.
on December 18,2012 | 03:05PM
Mythman wrote:
You got that right - it better be a lady or gentleman of the Japanese persuasion or Neil's head will be on the chopping block.......
on December 18,2012 | 12:08PM
honopic wrote:
Let me make it clearer: GET OUT OF HAWAI'I, Mythman. You have no heart, you have no soul, you have no aloha.
on December 18,2012 | 03:17PM
niceynicey wrote:
Calm down!
on December 18,2012 | 04:58PM
inverse wrote:
Mythman, I will agree with you to a certain point but that was uncalled for. It is NOT about race, rather allegiance to the Demo party and Unions and that is INDEPENDENT of race or gender. Caldwell, Hanabusa, Hirono, Schatz, etc are gender and racially diverse that are all in the IN group and Lingle, Djou, also gender and racially diverse are in the OUT group. Race is NOT the issue here. You realize it is this kind of attitude that got Obama re-elected? Romney PRETENDED to NOT be racially and financially elitist, however in the end he chose fellow Caucasian Ryan and not Rubio even though knowledgable and respected people like Huckabee, Trump and many others urged Romney to choose Rubio knowing full well that the Pres of the US CANNOT be elected by just relying on the Caucasian vote. My point is I am basically on your side but you and others have got to get off the racial thing or NOTHING will ever change.
on December 20,2012 | 09:46AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Prattle on my little naive ones. Garans ball barans....it's Colleen.
on December 18,2012 | 06:00PM
yskeulb wrote:
The seat will be filled via an election in 2014 so until then convince Senator Akaka to return to the Senate for two short years. We need to get back seniority in the Senate and the two years gives us time to develop a gameplan, including having Senator Akaka groom Rep Hanabusa.
on December 18,2012 | 11:35AM
poidragon wrote:
Better to place a bench warmer in the seat and let the people make their own choice as to who they want to represent them in the Senate.
on December 18,2012 | 11:58AM
Sunny wrote:
Are you kidding???
on December 18,2012 | 12:01PM
Mythman wrote:
Come on Hawaii, who needs senators when we have the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - the White House can draft bills too, you know and send them down to the congress. The congress is in a stale mate situation so the next four years is moot. The gravy train is not leaving the DC station for a while. Hunker down and buy gold and guns......
on December 18,2012 | 12:13PM
false wrote:
With Obama and his executive orders who needs congress, judges or the police.
on December 18,2012 | 01:07PM
pizza wrote:
Like Obama is gonna come to the alarm call at your house... get real!
on December 18,2012 | 05:45PM
honopic wrote:
"Buy gold and guns?" In the aftermath of Sandy Hook? Forget what I said about leaving Hawai'i. Leave the COUNTRY, you fascist slimeball. North Korea would welcome you with open arms.
on December 18,2012 | 03:21PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
We should have had a gameplan long ago. Now we have no one with any remote seniority.
on December 18,2012 | 01:28PM
pizza wrote:
Tht is a smart comment.
on December 18,2012 | 05:43PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
If Lazie Mazie and Hanabubu were our 2 US Senators, Hawaii would show the world that we don't care what manner of primates represent us - as long as they are Dems.
on December 18,2012 | 12:04PM
honopic wrote:
See if you can get a package deal with Mythman on one-way tickets. I'll gladly chip in.
on December 18,2012 | 03:22PM
EwaWarrior wrote:
Too funny!!! Sad, but true, though!!
on December 18,2012 | 04:11PM
entrkn wrote:
Hawaii needs unencumbered, energized, fresh young blood representing us in the Senate for many many years like Tulsi Gabbard and Brian Schatz... not the ineffective over the hill old state political machine hacks like Hanabusa and Hirono.
on December 18,2012 | 12:57PM
Puuloa wrote:
Blake Oshiro is the better candidate. He accomplished more as an elected official than Tulsi and Schatz together. He has the necessary legislative experience and would be a fantastic representative for our state.
on December 18,2012 | 08:08PM
Fred01 wrote:
Does anybody else find it suspicious that the Senator wrote this letter yesterday as he was dying? This looks like pure opportunistic political propaganda. Hanabusa is the devil.
on December 18,2012 | 01:13PM
honopic wrote:
How heartless can you be? Looks like I'll have to chip in for 3 one-way tickets.
on December 18,2012 | 03:25PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
I think it's correct to be skeptical. Have you seen people in respiratory failure? They don't write letters. EVER. They don't dictate them either.

If 88 year old Senator Inouye had been concerned enough about his successor to write such an eloquent letter minutes before he died, I think he might have written it sooner... while he was more likely to be conscious.

Sorry, but this reeks.
on December 18,2012 | 04:03PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
I know death pretty well and I agree with Kalaheo. Look at the date on the letter...I find it very hard to believe that Sen. Inouye was able to speak, must less was conscious one day before his death when he was dying of oxygen deprivation. Usually they are completely exhausted just trying to breathe. And if he were intubated it would have been imposible for him to talk.
on December 18,2012 | 07:12PM
CloudForest wrote:
No matter whom is appointed to the position I am absolutely sure that they will be a party hack through and through - and will be for everything political and not for the people of Hawaii.
on December 18,2012 | 02:30PM
blackmurano wrote:
Kauai Born and former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki is the best choice for Senator Inouye's U.S. Senate seat. Eric Shinseki is already in Obama's current cabinet, and he not only have a lot of influence in Congress and he would be "a plus for Hawaii. Senator Inouye was the voice of the military, a strong supporter and a World War veteran. Like Senator Inouye, we need another veteran in Eric Shinseki to fill that seat. I see no Hawaii politician, which includes the current congressional local delegation that would come close to what Senator Inouye has done. Eric Shinseka is a good choice.
on December 18,2012 | 02:35PM
pizza wrote:
Another intelligent suggestion...
on December 18,2012 | 05:46PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
It would be a smart choice. General Shinseki is the only choice that wouldn't make the Governor look bad if he snubs Hanabusa.
on December 18,2012 | 07:16PM
sluggah wrote:
One would hope that the voting public(excluding the illegals and dead people on the voting rolls) will wake up and see the machine for what it has become, a huge socialist, anti business cabal. Naaah, never happen. The leeches will pull the wool over their eyes again by dangling a carrot out there.
on December 18,2012 | 02:56PM
honopic wrote:
Make that 4 tickets! There goes my Christmas fund!
on December 18,2012 | 03:26PM
lee1957 wrote:
Make it easy on yourself and just buy one ticket. Remember to be at the airport two hours before the flight for domestic air travel.
on December 18,2012 | 05:41PM
bumba wrote:
Senator Inouye's death could very well have been the beginning of the Democratic Partiy's demise here if the Republicans hadn't made such complete fools of themselves this past election.
on December 18,2012 | 03:19PM
inverse wrote:
True, but the beginning of the end for the Hawaii Repub party was when Lingle vetoed the civil unions bills instead of just letting it pass without her signature. Lingle sided with cheaters and liars (ie tax exempt organization illegally using funds to lobby against the bill) and business organization leaders lying in a letter stating all of their members where against the civil unions bill) What Hawaii needs is a "local boy" version of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (although I have no clue why Christie would publicly praise Obama after hurricane Sandy just BEFORE the presidential election)
on December 20,2012 | 09:56AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Have you ever seen anyone in respiratory failure hours before they die? They don't write letters. EVER. They don't dictate them either.

If 88 year old Senator Inouye had been concerned enough about his successor to write such an eloquent letter hours before he died, I think he might have written it sooner... while he was more likely to be conscious.

Sorry folks, but this "deathbed, last-wish letter" reeks.
on December 18,2012 | 04:06PM
64hoo wrote:
with hanabusa as senater along with hirono bye bye shipyard jobs and they will cut the military so civillian people who work in goverment jobs get ready to get laid off. man dan got us back.
on December 18,2012 | 04:22PM
Kapaho wrote:
If not Hanabusa, then who? Easy to criticize but offer no replacement. I think Hanabusa should fill Senator Inouye's seat for the remainder of his term. Then in 2014, anyone can run against her. Let the Senator rest in peace, he has done so much for the good of Hawaii.
on December 18,2012 | 04:27PM
64hoo wrote:
ed case period.
on December 18,2012 | 04:33PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Hahahaha! That is a funny funny JOKE!
on December 18,2012 | 08:34PM
64hoo wrote:
ed case would be good.
on December 18,2012 | 04:36PM
Tanabe wrote:
I agree. I don't like Hanabusa, but there isn't really a viable alternative. I do like Case, but he screwed up his political career when he made too many Democrats mad when he ran against Akaka.
on December 18,2012 | 05:10PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
How about FOUR STAR GENERAL Eric Shinseki (ret.) currently President Obama's Secretary of Veterans Affairs and formerly the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army and a decorated combat veteran? Now what was on Colleen Hanabusa's resume that has you so impressed?

Who do you think would have more sway in convincing Congress that Pearl Harbor needs more money -- the four star general who used to be the COS of the Army or a local politician from Waianae?

on December 18,2012 | 07:31PM
Puuloa wrote:
Blake Oshiro. The best choice.
on December 18,2012 | 08:10PM
inverse wrote:
As others have mentioned, four-star general, former Army chief of staff and current secretary of veteran affairs Eric Shinseki
on December 20,2012 | 09:59AM
wenshang wrote:
The appointment is the decision of the Governor. I am sure the Governor will take the letter into account, but he should appoint the person he feels will be the best person to represent Hawaii. We need someone relatively young if the new Senator is to obtain meaningful seniority.
on December 18,2012 | 05:53PM
hawn wrote:
Hanabusa was elected to Congress, to the office she said she was the most qualified for and ran her campaign for. Let her serve her term as a Congresswoman. If she moves to the Senate then the people of Hawaii will have to foot the bill for a special election to fill her congressional seat. Name someone who is qualified and will not cost the tax payers anything. Case, Djou are qualified candidates.
on December 18,2012 | 06:24PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Case? Djou? Hahahaha! Funny!
on December 18,2012 | 08:35PM
64hoo wrote:
ha ha ha another one is hanabusa.
on December 18,2012 | 09:47PM
honokai wrote:
I am torn between waterman Mark Cunningham and volleyball coach Dave Shoji
on December 18,2012 | 06:30PM
ymanalohyn wrote:
audit dat lettah. kinda fishy
on December 18,2012 | 07:55PM
st1d wrote:
headline should read: purported letter alleges inouye's last wish for successor.

even his signature is strangely unaffected by his fatal respiratory complications. too easy to use a mechanical device to sign his name.

on December 18,2012 | 09:01PM
hawaiiatty wrote:
The signature is from an autopen, the letter was written by the senator's staff, who knows what inouye wanted. Abercrombie make up your own mind.
on December 18,2012 | 10:53PM
inverse wrote:
The letter is suspect. Probably crafted and rubber stamped by Inouye staffers. The day that Inouye dies he dictates this memo to be sent to Governor Abercrombie? Inouye spent his last HOURS on this earth taking care of congressional business rather than spending whatever time he had left with family members?
on December 20,2012 | 09:27AM
AndrewWalden wrote:
on December 20,2012 | 09:41AM
lokahiblaze wrote:
The senator is a great hero and patriot who has served his country and the state of Hawaii with great distinction for more than half a century. He will be sorely missed by all. However, while I've never subscribed to conspiracy theories, I find it highly suspect that the aging Inouye could have written such a lengthy and detailed letter while lying on what was to become his deathbed, and further to have named none other than the current darling of the Democrat political machine to be his successor. Something doesn't smell right here. My father warned me never to trust something that looks too good to be true.
on December 21,2012 | 10:25AM
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