By Derrick DePledge
Irene Hirano Inouye, the widow of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, sent out a fundraising email through EMILY's List on Monday asking donors to help fulfill Inouye's last wish that U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa succeed him.
Hirano Inouye endorsed Hanabusa shortly after she announced her Democratic primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.
Inouye had urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie to appoint Hanabusa to replace him. Instead, Abercrombie chose Schatz, his lieutenant governor.
From Hirano Inouye:
For nearly 50 years, my husband, Dan, served the people of Hawai'i and this nation in the U.S. Senate. Dan was a man of deep conviction and dedication. Everything he did was to ensure that the people of Hawai'i had the best possible representation in Washington.
Right before he passed away last December, Dan asked for Colleen Hanabusa to serve out his term. She was already a part of Hawaii's congressional delegation, and could easily carry the agenda forward. Dan knew she worked hard and was a leader. He saw it many years ago when he began to mentor her as she became Hawaii's first woman to lead the state Senate. He saw it in her as a congresswoman, and I do too.
I have full confidence that Colleen will serve Hawai'i in the way the people deserve -- with honorable leadership and continued respect. This is not the time for on-the-job-training.
I've known Colleen for years and I trust her to carry Dan's agenda for working families forward. She's led on education and led on civil rights. She's the right candidate for Hawai'i. And when she gets to the Senate, she'll carry on in the progressive tradition that Hawaii's known for.
I'm moved to see an outpouring of support for Dan's last wish. He was a kind and humble man who never stopped working for the people of Hawaii and this nation. Colleen will carry the same torch, fighting for fairness and opportunity for all in the Senate. Thank you for your consideration.
Irene Hirano Inouye