Against the dying wishes of late Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Inouye's passing.
Inouye, who lost an arm in World War II before becoming the second-longest serving Senator in American history, died last Monday of respiratory complications. He was 88.
Before being elected Lieutenant Governor, Schatz was a member of Hawaii's House of Representatives and chaired the Democratic Party from 2008 to 2010.
He also served for eight years as the CEO of Helping Hands Hawai'i, one of Hawaii's largest non-profit community social services organizations.
"I make this decision with full confidence that Brian's appointment is in the best interest of the State of Hawaii and the nation," Abercrombie said. Schatz will serve a two-year term before having to run in a special election in 2014.
The new senator was able to spend some time with President Barack Obama Wednesday evening, as the two men flew from Hawaii to Washington, DC on Air Force One.
"Just had a nice, brief chat with the President on Air Force One. Looking forward to supporting his agenda in the Senate," Schatz tweeted.
It is expected that he will be sworn in Thursday afternoon.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was favored by Inouye, was passed over, along with Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. Ed Case, and a few state senators.
"Sen. Inouye conveyed his final wish to Gov. Abercrombie. While we are very disappointed that it was not honored, it was the governor's decision to make," Jennifer Sabas, Inouye's chief of staff, said in a statement. "We wish Brian Schatz the best of luck."
by RTT Staff Writer
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