Daniel Inouye (D-HI) was a World War II hero, served in the Senate for nearly 50 years and was recently the Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. He passed away 12/17/12 of respiratory ailments at age 88. According to The Hill, his final word was in fact “Aloha.”
The National Association of Broadcasters noted Inouye’s central role in communications issues over the years and noted that he was responsible for retransmission consent elements in the 1992 Cable Act, a provision that has been a critical element in the financial health of the broadcast television business.
Inouye was president pro tem of the Senate, placing him third in line for the presidency. That role is expected to be filled by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who occasionally weighs in on broadcast matters under his role as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) is widely seen as a possible appointee to serve the remainder of Inouye’s term, and is said to have been his personal pick in the days before his death.
Discussing Inouye, Hanabusa stated, “But beyond his well-deserved professional accolades, I am proud to have called Dan Inouye a friend and a mentor. His professional generosity and personal kindness have meant the world to me. I attribute a great deal of the success I have enjoyed to his willingness to share with a smile, and to guide with a gentle word. I will miss him, and I join our state and our nation in mourning the loss of a great American and a wonderful man.”
Many in the broadcast community have commented on Senator Inouye:
* NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith: “We mourn the passing of a statesman, a decorated war hero, and a legend in the U.S. Senate. I had the pleasure of working with Sen. Inouye on the Senate Commerce Committee on many pieces of legislation, and I can honestly say there was no finer gentleman in politics. Broadcasters have lost a friend, and our country has lost a man of bipartisan decency and integrity.”
* FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski: “Today we lost a great American hero. Daniel Inouye’s powerful life story is about courage, conviction, and service. Getting to know Sen. Inouye has been a unique privilege for me and my family, with whom Sen. Inouye showed uncommon generosity of spirit. We mourn his passing. His inspiration will be widespread and enduring.”
* Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sharon Rockefeller: “Each of us in the Senate has lost a piece of ourselves with the passing of Senator Inouye. He has been a total mentor and great friend to me since I came to the Senate. I’m truly honored to have had the opportunity to know him so well. His life is a testament to what true patriotism, hard work, and courage embody. His heroic legacy will live on as a symbol of the great work that one man can do and it is something that we all strive to achieve. He has made the state of Hawaii, his country, and this chamber proud. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his beautiful wife, Irene, his family, and his friends. Senator Daniel Inouye was a very great American.”
* National Hispanic Media Coalition President & CEO Alex Nogales: “Senator Inouye is a true American hero. He was one of our champions in the Senate who had a history of confronting injustice and discrimination against people from all walks of life. He represented the people of the state of Hawaii admirably for more than half a century. While he will be surely missed, his legacy will endure and his service to this country is an inspiration to us all.”