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Several Democrats step forward to apply for Inouye seat

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:43 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2012


Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz said today that he would apply for the appointment to replace the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in the Senate.

“No one can take the place of Senator Inouye, and we all continue to mourn his loss," Schatz said in a statement. "On December 28, the Democratic Party of Hawaii will meet and decide upon three names for the governor to consider for appointment to the United States Senate.  I will apply to be considered for this vacancy.  I hope to make the case to the state central committee members that I should be one of the three names that the Governor will ultimately consider."

Schatz, 40, is a former Makiki state lawmaker and chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii who helped lead President Barack Obama’s campaign in the islands in 2008. He ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District in 2006.

Schatz was elected lieutenant governor in 2010.

The party’s state central committee will meet on Dec. 28 and recommend three nominees to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The appointed senator will serve until voters in 2014 choose a senator to fill out the remainder of Inouye’s term through 2016.

Inouye had urged Abercrombie to select U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii. Hanabusa has applied for the appointment.

Abercrombie said today "every weight" will be given to Inouye's request, but added any discussion on who he might appoint is premature until the state party presents its list of nominees.

"The plain fact is, when the choice for the senator's successor takes place it will be the result of Democracy in action," Abercrombie said at a news conference in his office.  

Tony Gill, the chairman of Oahu Democrats and a labor attorney, has also applied for the vacancy.

State Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said today that he would also apply.

"I do support the senator’s wishes that Rep. Hanabusa be the next appointed individual, however, since the law is clear that there must be three nominees I would be honored to be considered one of those other nominees,” Espero said.

“I do believe that I have the experience, the ability and the willingness to serve in Washington, D.C., and with my 21 years of service – my current government service – I think that has helped me to be where I am today."

If Schatz were chosen for the appointment, state Senate President Shan Tsutsui would be next in the line of succession for lieutenant governor. If Tsutsui were to decline, the post would go to House Speaker Calvin Say.

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nonpolitic wrote:
Lt. Governor Schatz should run for CD1 or should stay put if he is serious about assisting Governor Abercrombie earn re-election. In my humble opinion, he currently lacks the gravitas to be U.S. Senator. As for Mr. Espero, he seems even less qualified for the position. I also believe he originally ran for office as a Republican before changing to the Democratic party.
on December 20,2012 | 01:37PM
EwaWarrior wrote:
And you think Hanabutta has the gravitas to be senator?????
on December 20,2012 | 02:25PM
allie wrote:
neither one does but schatz is bored with little to do
on December 20,2012 | 02:48PM
nonpolitic wrote:
Yes, frankly I do. And I think for many of those people who have actually dealt with policymakers, business leaders, and the legal profession in Hawaii for at least a decade have the same point of view. The congresswoman is well known around town as one of the toughest, most intelligent, and hardest working attorneys in Hawaii. The question is, do you know of someone who would more effectively represent our state in the shark tank that is the U.S. Senate?
on December 20,2012 | 03:17PM
OB1NONO_ME wrote:
You forgot most corrupt. Jeff Stone, Ko Olina, etc.
on December 20,2012 | 05:25PM
Wazdat wrote:
Maybe, but shes gets ZERO respect in DC. FACT
on December 20,2012 | 08:06PM
Changalang wrote:
Sad part is that with all that time under Mazie's belt in the U.S. House; she still gets much less respect in D.C. than Colleen. Pelosi recognizes the value of Party a55kissers, but despises their character as their leader.
on December 20,2012 | 09:20PM
Changalang wrote:
Hawaii needs a capable 40 year old with a close friend in the White House vs. a capable 60 year old to put our best foot FORWARD. The Senate and the power that goes with it is based completely on seniority accrued. Live long and prosper Senator Schatz !
on December 20,2012 | 02:54PM
Kawipoo wrote:
LOL what a joke.
on December 20,2012 | 07:18PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Two older ladies = little pork. Do the math.
on December 20,2012 | 07:22PM
Changalang wrote:
No joke. Neil is capable of making check mate plays. Always has been. Neal can put his LG in the Senate and solidify his crew from the State House and Senate to the U.S. Senate and get even tighter with the Oval Office. Neal has the stones to make the Big Kahuna move. Dan's legacy can never be duplicated; but it is a new time for new tactics to get Hawaii back in the game to win. It is not 50/50; but if the Neil who pumps iron like a beast shows up on selection day, Senator Schatz could be the lynchpin to secure Hawaii's future. I find that when Republicans make "joke" comments on these forums; they are really crying inside because deep down they know their party is a neutered gimp. It's okay, the big tent big hearted Democrats of Hawaii make sure that even their least favorite pets get the bare essentials. If Lingle got pounded so badly by inferior candidate Mazie, then how would any GOP candidate do against any "D" candidate that can stand alone on their merits? That is the real joke here; the Hawaii GOP. Hardly a laugh, but really a cry. :)
on December 20,2012 | 09:16PM
false wrote:
If the Governor is looking for a capable elected official with a demonstrated record of competence, reasonableness, moderation and intelligence, young enough to acquire the seniority necessary to secure benefits for Hawaii, Brian Schatz would make a very good choice.

People with only a passing knowledge of the legislative process might not know much about Schatz because Schatz's strengths are in mediating and problem-solving behind the scenes. He is not a grandstander, prone to making dramatic statements which draw media attention. This virtue may make him almost invisible to those who rely upon news and gossip to understand how politics works in Hawaii.

Colleen Hanabusa has her strengths. She would not have been the Senate President, then elected to Congress if she did not have the skills to navigate the personalities and powerful interests influencing politics. She is fully capable of becoming an effective US Senator. But now that we are faced with the reality of Hawaii having ZERO seniority in Congress--and I may be over-reacting--the importance of seniority becomes especially important at this time. Which leads me to conclude Schatz is the best choice for the position.


on December 21,2012 | 08:48AM
HD36 wrote:
Who wouldn't want to work 3 days a week, and get $176,000 plus free health care and be able to retire after 6 years?
on December 20,2012 | 08:09PM
hilocal wrote:
HD36, no one today ambitious enough to run. In 1959 former governor Long wanted to cap his career in 1959 with a term in the US Senate, so Jack Burns told Dan Inouye to wait his turn and run for the US House instead.
on December 21,2012 | 06:43AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Abercrombie has no chance of winning re-election. Schatz is getting out before he gets booted out.
on December 20,2012 | 01:54PM
billso wrote:
So whom would the GOP will nominate for the governor's race? Charles Djou?
on December 20,2012 | 02:22PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Doesn't matter - UNIONS pick Gov, and all other pols.
on December 20,2012 | 07:18PM
Kawipoo wrote:
They are currently looking for an elf to run against the troll.
on December 20,2012 | 07:18PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Neil should appoint his good friend and buddy mufi.
on December 20,2012 | 02:05PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
You are just evil. Evil, I say. Next you'll put in a good word for Tom Berg. Hehehe....oh wait comic relief is having Willie E toss his name in.
on December 20,2012 | 02:40PM
false wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 20,2012 | 06:28PM
Kawipoo wrote:
LOL
on December 20,2012 | 07:19PM
foliefolie wrote:
Will Espero??? Seriously? Just fell off my chair from laughing!
on December 20,2012 | 02:35PM
EwaWarrior wrote:
ABH - Anybody But Hanabutta!!!!
on December 20,2012 | 02:36PM
aomohoa wrote:
Now it's getting interesting!
on December 20,2012 | 02:51PM
Manoa_Fisherman wrote:
Brian Schatz has no resume to justify his appointment to the United States Senate. He has been "taken care of" by the Democratic Party hacks and doesn't have the background to tough it out for Hawaii as a Senator. You do need some brains to function in the Congressional setting, and Schatz couldn't hack it as a state legislator.!
on December 20,2012 | 02:57PM
Changalang wrote:
Brian's people of dissident lineage just made Calvin Say resign. It is a New Day in Hawaii and a better way FORWARD than the old boy play. The young Democrats in Hawaii know there is much more potential to problem solving than old school musubi politics. The Ume just passed away. What are going to stick to now? Memories? There is a lot of rebuilding to do with global power players of a new generation. Step into the future.
on December 20,2012 | 06:16PM
Manoa_Fisherman wrote:
The problem is that Schatz is "clueless" to use the venacular of his generation. None of the "dissidents" have had a real job that makes them face the daily realities that the majority of the people in the state have to deal with. Most of the dissidents have cushy jobs with trial lawyers that deal with chasing ambulances or suing people, really constructive work in society if you consider a leach a major animal in the food chain.
on December 20,2012 | 07:33PM
hilocal wrote:
Manoa_Fisherman, my observation of Schatz is he's intelligent, communicates well, and has been lucky. As long as the senate operates on seniority, he'll do better for Hawai'i in the long run because he's only 40 or so.
on December 21,2012 | 06:50AM
wenshang wrote:
Brian Schatz is a good choice. He has credibility after being Chair of the Democratic Party and his role in the Obama campaign. He is a bright guy and his impressive victory in the LG primary shows he has support across the state. We need to think about the present and the future. Someone who begins serving in their 60's will never get the kind of Senate seniority that we need. Schatz will do well in the job.
on December 20,2012 | 03:15PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Oh barf
on December 20,2012 | 08:55PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
He's a child that's done nothing but suckle at the teat of the ruling party. At least his elders struggled, he's only got a learner;s permit. Shameful how he promotes himself.
on December 20,2012 | 08:58PM
Changalang wrote:
Would it be better to be an old jealous spectator who can't see straight, or rising star? LOL. No need to answer.
on December 20,2012 | 10:09PM
Hahaione2000 wrote:
give me a friggin break.
on December 20,2012 | 03:47PM
loio wrote:
me too
on December 20,2012 | 04:04PM
loio wrote:
schatz is a putz. hanabusa's just another democrat with the same failed vision, but if dan wanted here then schatz who? putz wannabe
on December 20,2012 | 04:03PM
Tony91 wrote:
Daniel Inouye was 38 or so when he was elected to Senate. Everyone is assuming whoever gets appointed will serve until they die or retire. To get Inouye's kind of seniority, one has to be re-elected. A lot. At 60 and 65, how many 6 years terms do Hanabusa and Hirono have in them? Will they be re-elected each time? There is a very valid argument for a much younger person, if only to ensure the repeat of 2012 does not happen again to Hawaii. Ever.
on December 20,2012 | 04:04PM
wenshang wrote:
Amen
on December 20,2012 | 04:25PM
nonpolitic wrote:
The sad truth is that who among the current list of 30-40 somethings possess the credentials of a 38 year old Daniel K. Inouye? Absolutely none. The man was already practically a legend among his peers at 38! While appointing anyone older to the Senate may have its long term drawbacks (after all, it isn't uncommon for asian women from Hawaii to live well into their 90s), the irrefutable fact remains that the person appointed to fill the late Senator's seat must immediately possess superlative negotiating skills, a keen understanding of Hawaii and DC (politics and its people), respect among peers, inherent statesmanship, and remarkable intelligence. That's what the late Senator brought to the table for Hawaii. I ask you, who among those already noted possesses those skills? In my estimation, there is only one that even comes close, and that's the one the late Senator recommended.
on December 20,2012 | 04:40PM
Changalang wrote:
Colleen is my Representative and I am proud to have her as one of the 500 or so Reps in the U.S. House. Being part of the minion of the minority House Party has hindered both her and Mazie's ability to produce at the national level. As State Senate President, she had all the support of the big fish in our small pond. It is every man for themselves now since everyone is realizing that without Dan, Hawaii only matters to itself now. There is no panic phone call that can be made to one of Dan's staffers to persuade a fix for whatever ailed us. Colleen will be nothing in the Senate for a long time. There is no support system there for her our Mazie. Schatz can call Obama; anytime. That is Hawaii's only link to making a rescue call. D.C. is about power brokering and payback. Do not think for one second that the second tier under Dan's staffers reign are not looking for a little corrective payback for the years of the Emperor's reign of "persuasion". Brian can start fresh and build alliances quicker with fellow Senators knowing he has the anytime 911 to the oval office. If Colleen stays in the House; no special election to replace Hanabusa, youth with power goes to the Senate, and we get Shane as an LG. Win, win, win for We the People. No brainer. This is Hawaii though, so all bets off
on December 20,2012 | 05:52PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Changaling, you been reading political novels and reading inside the beltway blogs. Obama has 4 more years period, and will leave DC asap, as he is no insider. It's worse than dumb to chose a wimp because he can call a lame duck. Clinton, LBJ, Reagan, they ruled after office. Obama - think Jimmy Carter
on December 20,2012 | 09:02PM
Changalang wrote:
Obama's gov't is mostly left over Clintonistas that will still be there when Hillary is President in 2016; same people equals same connect. The Big Island, Dods, and Watanabe should bet on Brian; quietly of course. Keep the naive perspectives in the nursery. This is the most important political decision of a generation and requires a panoramic view of the whole landscape. With Dan gone, gambling is coming soon. Reid's backers from Nevada will be making good friends with Hawaii and give the Aloha Spirit a whole new avenue of expression. Defense spending deficits will be replaced. Both Schatz and Colleen speak the language, but Schatz is only 40. About the same age when Inouye got drafted by Yosh. History repeats. The soldier class of politicians is quickly becoming extinct.
on December 20,2012 | 09:52PM
Wazdat wrote:
NO, I would NEVER vote for those 2.
on December 20,2012 | 08:07PM
whs1966 wrote:
Schatz should be ashamed to apply for Senator Inouye's office, but his huge ego leaves him no choice but to apply. What has he accomplished in his years in state politics? Simply put, he is a political opportunist, a carpetbagger of the worst ilk.
on December 20,2012 | 04:14PM
Changalang wrote:
Perhaps he was asked by prominent Democrats to apply so as to strengthen Hawaii's position in the Senate because of his close relationship with President Obama. Brian grew up here. As LG he was supported by organizations like SHOPO, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357, Ironworkers Union local 625, Operating Engineers Local 3, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and Hawaii Government Employees Association. Those are the same organizations that made Dan Inouye so omnipotent in the Senate. Neal will make the best selection for Hawaii's future. Bet the Obamas will be hanging out with Schatz while they are here at some point while they enjoy our islands. Time for Hawaii to much FORWARD away from the politics of personal attacks and negativity.
on December 20,2012 | 04:39PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
They can smoke a bong up at Rocky Hill for all I care
on December 20,2012 | 09:03PM
Changalang wrote:
Are you suggesting Hawaii be the join Washington State and Colorado in bold decriminalizing ballot initiatives? Great idea. One more potential revenue stream that would replace the gaping hole in our local economy left by Dan's untimely departure.
on December 20,2012 | 09:55PM
WillEspero wrote:
Aloha All - I understand that I am an under dog for the US Senate seat. But let's make it clear that I have years of experience which match or surpass other possible candidates. I have over 20 years of government experience; 7 with the City and County working for Mayor Frank Fasi and 13 years in the State Legislature. I am currently the Senate Majority Floor leader and chair the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs, and have had over 60 bills passed by the Legislature. Areas I have had a direct influence as an introducer of bills include prison and corrections reform, aerospace development, space tourism, robotics, condominium issues, transportation issues, and historical preservation. As a legislator from West Oahu, my colleagues and I have provided millions for roads, schools, and a new university, UHWO. My region is the fastest growing region in the state. I know there will be many qualified applicants for the US Senate seat. It would be an honor to serve Hawaii in this capacity if given a chance. At the age of 52, I believe I can serve 4 or 5 terms, God willing.
on December 20,2012 | 04:36PM
BH1 wrote:
Mr Espero. Senator Inouye's "body isn't even cold yet." now isn't the appropriate time to be lobbying for his position. At least give the state and it's people time to pay our respects first over the weekend. You threw your name in the hat. That is fine and acceptable. Lobbying during this time is simply disrespectful. Frankly, I don't care what your qualifications are. No one needs to hear that now. If you were indeed Senate worthy, you would not have resorted to these "myself-before-the-people-first" tactics.
on December 20,2012 | 05:29PM
BH1 wrote:
No statement would've been best. But if you felt one needed to be made AT THIS TIME, it should've read like this..."Aloha all, I understand that I am an underdog for the US Senate seat but i am hoping that I will have the opportunity later at the apprpriate time to educate everyone about myself and my qualifications later. But for now let us all celebrate and pay respects to Senator Inouye - a man who paved the way for all of us..."
on December 20,2012 | 05:36PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Willie's high opinion of himself is not shared by many people. Still, it's entertaining. Funny actually.
on December 20,2012 | 05:54PM
Changalang wrote:
Quite frankly sir, a glory hound/underdog cannot run with the big dogs in the U.S. Senate. D.C. is all about maximizing the CONNECT. D.C. is a place where the make like they are giving you what you want so you walk away happy, and maximize the joy of them shooting you in the back on the way out. Inouye kept Akaka "protected" because he was that tough. Messing with his second vote, meant messing with Inouye and his staffer muscle at a personal level. Colleen and Brian have the character to swing in the big leagues. Honestly explore if you think you are of the same caliber and can harness the heavy handed local support to push our lead Senator FORWARD. Please pardon my honesty and thank you for filling up the dance card. Seriously, no offense. Your skill set appears to be maximized already in your current station. You are a good guy. U.S. Senate demands more. Keep up your good works in the State Senate.
on December 20,2012 | 06:08PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Changa, I thought you were a Punahou stoner, now I know you are: Brian has the characture to swing in the big leagues? Give me Tulsi any day. Give me Case, who called out Dickie Wong and Henry Peters, the cornerstone of power politics in their day. That's guts, to go up against all odds, tell them they're crooks, and that their $1mill/year trustee fee should be cut by 10. Now, that's characture. David and Goliath. So before you start spinning pipe dreams, Dingaling, do a little living.
on December 20,2012 | 09:10PM
Changalang wrote:
The truth hurts, apparently. Your intellectual deficits keep you in da cheapseats. Tulsi was a quartermaster clerk turned "combat vet" with minuscule City Council service to her record. If Akaka didn't need new office space to keep his staff employed, McCoy never signed on, and Joe Trippi didn't "organize" the campaign; then Tulsi would still be voting yes with reservations in the little leagues. Maybe you should deal with your anger issues and focus on your own success, rather than misinterpret the events beyond your ability to comprehend. Tulsi is owned and operated by the Machine, genius. LOL.
on December 20,2012 | 10:04PM
OB1NONO_ME wrote:
So you are in it to win it v. just filling one of three submissions as required?
on December 20,2012 | 06:45PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Is this really you, Will? Are you really coming on the blog, yourself? It takes guts. But no common sense. And you must be blind to how grasping this looks. Especially when the prize is simply unattainable, and has already been given away. For your own sake, I hope this is an imposter
on December 20,2012 | 09:14PM
Mediocrates wrote:
Right on Will. I agree that you are clearly just as qualified (actually more so in my opinion) than Mr. Schatz. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of Hanabusa being named after such an important win in CD1. Dems could too easily lose it AGAIN if she leaves the seat open for a winner-take-all election. Good luck!
on December 20,2012 | 09:44PM
false wrote:
Chelsea Clinton is the clear choice. The pattern is set. Hilary moved to NY to "inherit" a seat. Why can't Chelsea Clinton "move" to Hawaii to inherit a seat?. When Hilary becomes President in 2016, Hawaii will be in Pork heaven.
on December 20,2012 | 04:53PM
whs1966 wrote:
Hmm...my original comment was censored. Seems I was too harsh on our marvelous Lt. Gov, who has served us so well for years, leaving a legacy of accomplishments at every step of the way. Wow! He must have some powerful friends in the newspaper business!
on December 20,2012 | 05:18PM
OB1NONO_ME wrote:
I'm quite suprised here that NO ONE has mentioned Bu Laia. Waddup wit dat?
on December 20,2012 | 05:28PM
HCSSC wrote:
NONE OF THE ABOVE!
on December 20,2012 | 05:38PM
entrkn wrote:
Brian Schatz will be a great Senator for a long long time and he is my choice... now we have to get Hirono, our do nothing old cow out and replace her with Tulsi Gabbard, another quality long term real Senator who will also propel Hawaii's Senator's to the leadership level that has been so beneficial to Hawaii and to America.
on December 20,2012 | 05:56PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Brian was unfortunately one of the worst representatives we have ever had in the Makiki district. The fact that he occupied two residences - one in the district and one outside of the district was also really smelly...
on December 20,2012 | 06:23PM
Changalang wrote:
The dinosaurs of the Hawaii GOP chime in.
on December 20,2012 | 06:36PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
They have a voice too. I'm sure the Governor is listening to them and giving their opinions the value they deserve.
on December 20,2012 | 07:46PM
Changalang wrote:
A wipe and a flush?
on December 20,2012 | 08:47PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Why would he spend that much time?
on December 20,2012 | 09:50PM
solo3808 wrote:
Lt Governor Schatz wants to bail because he knows there is no re-election the way the Abercrombie ticket is going. You don't have the experience stay put and do nothing. Senator Willie Espero you've done nothing for the last 21 years so what experience are you talking about. You propose bills that make no sense. GIVE THE MAN HIS WISH HANABUSA.
on December 20,2012 | 07:13PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Neil picks Lingle - wow, didn't see that coming. And, he gets an adult haircut.
on December 20,2012 | 07:19PM
64hoo wrote:
lt.governer schatz anybody can take the place of senater inouye. its not impossible so don't say nobody can. because anybody can.
on December 20,2012 | 07:30PM
noheawilli wrote:
None of the above.....oh wait... Why not ask me?
on December 20,2012 | 07:52PM
HD36 wrote:
The vultures are coming out of the wood work.
on December 20,2012 | 08:07PM
teedeebill wrote:
Peewee politicians, every one -- regardless. Let Waihee serve out Senator's term then the peewees can duke it out on even ground in two years.
on December 20,2012 | 08:09PM
Changalang wrote:
And lose two years of Hawaii Senate seniority on a placeholder who couldn't keep his own house from being foreclosed on? Waihee is lucky Lingle came along. Until then, HE was the worst Governor in Hawaii history.
on December 20,2012 | 08:52PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Whoa, Senate may actually have to do something. House has left town. Barry, are you up to working with Harry and actually formulating a plan? Or, as you have hoped all along, lead us over the cliff, which means lots more money for Federal and states public employees, aka, stimulus 2.0.
on December 20,2012 | 08:34PM
ROBT wrote:
Only 1 Candidate saw this coming and faced major blackballing because of it! Ed Case is the best choice hands down! If you want someone connected to the old boy system the hauna busa might be the correct choice. But our state will be in dire need of Fed funds in the future without Senators that have any Seniority. Dan your games will cost this state big in the future! I would go for Case first then Gabbard second.
on December 20,2012 | 08:43PM
Changalang wrote:
Yet, it is not politically possible for Gov Abs. to ignore the Emperor's dying wish and appoint Dan's own example of disobedience. In 2014, Abs and his appointee will be running for re-election. Colleen is the culturally safe pick; but Neil is capable of doing other things via grander reasons. Funny how Dan picked Ed over all for Mink's seat; yet made sure he was shunned by the Machine for challenging Akaka out of turn without permission/approval. With Inouye gone, the influence he wielded is even more apparent. Sad, but true.
on December 20,2012 | 08:58PM
honmani2 wrote:
Boy, sounds like some in here can do a better job than those who have stepped forward. You have until Monday to submit your application to the party. Go for it.
on December 20,2012 | 09:02PM
Mediocrates wrote:
I like Espero's chances. It makes much more political sense than Hanabusa or Schatz at this time.
on December 20,2012 | 09:45PM
Nalukai wrote:
Hawaii will shortly become the laughing stock of Senate......
on December 20,2012 | 09:54PM
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