POSTED: 11:37 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 1:17 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.