ENG: Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye (born September 7, 1924) is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.Inouye has been a senator since 1963, the most senior senator. He is also the second longest serving U.S. Senator in history after Robert Byrd. Inouye has continuously represented Hawaii in the U.S. Congress since it achieved statehood in 1959, serving as Hawaii's first U.S. Representative and later a senator. Inouye was the first Japanese-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the first in the U.S. Senate. At age 86, Inouye is the second-oldest current senator, after 87 year old Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. He is also a recipient of the United States Medal of Honor. If he serves until June 29, 2014, he will become the longest serving Senator in history. Inouye has already announced that he plans to run for a record tenth term in 2016, when he will be 92 years old.
Inouye was born on September 7, 1924, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Kame (née Imanaga) and Hyotaro Inouye.He is a Nisei Japanese-American (an American-born child of Japanese immigrants) and grew up in the Bingham Tract, a Chinese-American enclave within the predominantly Japanese-American community of Mo'ili'ili in Honolulu. He graduated from Honolulu's President William McKinley High School. He was at the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 as a medical volunteer.In 1943, when the U.S. Army dropped its ban on Japanese-Americans, Inouye curtailed his premedical studies at the University of Hawaii and enlisted in the Army. He was assigned to the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the most-highly decorated unit in the history of the Army. During the World War II campaign in Europe, he received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded by President Clinton in June 2000 to the Medal of Honor.Inouye was promoted to the rank of sergeant within his first year, and he was given the role of platoon leader. He served in Italy in 1944 during the Rome-Arno Campaign before he was shifted to the Vosges Mountains region of France, where he spent two weeks searching for the Lost Battalion, a Texas battalion that was surrounded by German forces. He was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant for his actions there. At one point while he was leading an attack, a shot struck him in the chest directly above his heart, but the bullet was stopped by the two silver dollars he happened to have stacked in his shirt pocket. He continued to carry the coins throughout the war in his shirt pocket as good luck charms.
His wife of 57 years, Maggie, died on March 13, 2006. On May 24, 2008, he married Irene Hirano in a private ceremony in Beverly Hills, California. Ms. Hirano is president and chief executive officer of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. Honolulu Advertiser, she is 24 years younger than Inouye. On May 27, 2010, Ms. Hirano was elected by the board to chair the nation's 2nd largest non-profit, The Ford Foundation. Inouye's son Kenny was the guitarist for influential D.C. hardcore punk band Marginal Man.
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Although Inouye lost his right arm in WWII, he remained in the military until 1947 and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. Due to the loss of his arm, he abandoned his plans to become a surgeon, and returned to college to study political science under the GI Bill. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He earned his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1953 and was elected into the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. Soon afterward he was elected to the territorial legislature, of which he was a member until shortly before Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959. He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as Hawaii's first full member, and took office on August 21, 1959, the same date Hawaii became a state; he was re-elected in 1960. In 1962 Inouye was elected to the U.S. Senate, succeeding fellow Democrat Oren E. Long. He is currently serving his ninth consecutive six-year term, having most recently run against Republican candidate Campbell Cavasso in 2010. He delivered the keynote address at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and gained national attention for his service on the Senate Watergate Committee. He was chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence from 1975 until 1979, and chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs from 1987 until 1995 and from 2001 until 2003. Inouye was also involved in the Iran-Contra investigations of the 1980s, chairing a special committee from 1987 until 1989. During the hearings Inouye made a statement about the existence of a 'secret government' within the United States that had been involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
Inouye made many controversial comments during the investigation such as comparing it to the Nuremberg trials. He was challenged in a heated rebuttal by Oliver North's attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. These, among many other attacks, led to Mr. North's popularity. In 2000, Inouye was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, in recognition of his long and distinguished career in public service.In 2009, Inouye assumed leadership of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations after longtime chairman Robert Byrd stepped down. In 2010, Inouye announced his decision to run for a ninth term.Following Senator Byrd's death on June 28, 2010, Inouye became the longest-serving current senator and President pro tempore of the United States Senate, making him third in the presidential line of succession. He is also seen as a pro-Taiwan senator. He helped in forming the Taiwan Relations Act.
In June 2011, Inouye was appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest Japanese honor which may be conferred upon a foreigner who is not a head of state. Only the seventh American to be so honored, he is also the first American of Japanese descent to receive it. The conferment of the order was "to recognize his continued significant and unprecedented contributions to the enhancement of goodwill and understanding between Japan and the United States."
June 10th, 2011