Murkowski Pays Tribute to “Alaska’s Third Senator” Daniel Inouye

Senator Shares Memories, Makes Commitment to Hawaii on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski today spoke on the United States Senate floor, paying her respects to longtime Hawaiian Senator and legendary lawmaker Daniel K. Inouye on behalf of Alaskans who feel as if they’ve lost a member of the family – saying of his legacy that “a big tree has fallen” and “He never let us down.”

If you would like to watch the speech in its entirety, click here:


 Below are three selected excerpts, click on the images to view the clips: (Clip One: “He never let us down”)

“It is well known in Alaska, and in this body, that we regarded our late Senator Ted Stevens as “Uncle Ted.” We called him Uncle Ted back home. Well it follows then that the people of Alaska would regard his brother, the beloved Daniel K. Inouye, as our “uncle” as well.

“Today, the people of Alaska are mourning the loss of Senator Inouye in the same way that we mourn the loss of one of our own. That is because Senator Inouye is one of our own. Regardless of whether he wanted that burden and I know that at times he did not want that, we thought of him as Alaska’s third Senator. A great many Alaskans came to know, to love, and to rely on Senator Inouye to watch Alaska’s back. He never let us down.”

  (Clip Two: “A big tree has fallen” and to Hawaiians “Your needs will not be forgotten.”)

“When a significant figure in Alaska passes on we often say “A big tree has fallen.”  In the islands, Daniel Inouye was the biggest of the big trees. There is no way to minimize the loss that the people of Hawaii are feeling. You could see it in the face of Governor Abercrombie yesterday, he could barely control his tears as he conducted a lengthy news conference following Senator Inouye’s passing. We saw Senator Akaka when he delivered remarks, as well.  In Hawaii, as in Alaska, these things are personal. Losing a long-time Senator feels like losing a member of your own family.

“Mr. President, the Senate Ohana is less today because Senator Inouye because Senator Inouye is no longer with us. Let me simply say that the people of Alaska and the people of this great nation stand with the people of Hawaii. And I offer my personal commitment to the people of Hawaii as the now senior-most Senator representing the decades old alliance of our former territories. Your needs will not be forgotten.”

(Inouye and Ted Stevens made bipartisanship real)

“Following Ted’s death, Senator Inouye came to the floor and said the following of his fallen brother. “When it came to policy, we disagreed more often than we agreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another. We were always positive and forthright.” This remark came as something of a surprise to me because on the important issues that faced this country they arrived at significant agreements that moved things forward in the Senate. And to neither of them was bipartisanship a dirty word.  Senator Inouye said of Ted “We made the word bipartisan become real – real.”

“It is no coincidence that each would be described in these terms, “His word is his bond… Good as gold.”

“Daniel K. Inouye brought depth to every debate and dignity to every room in which he entered. He was a model Senator and in these times of turbulence within the Senate a role model for so many of us. There was elegance in this man that we should all strive to emulate.  I wonder often if those of us who did not come of age in that “greatest generation” are up to this challenge. But we should strive to be.”

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