Despite Inouye’s Final Wish, Hawaii’s Lt. Governor Will Be Its New Senator

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Brian Schatz.Photo: Brian Schatz/Facebook

Since Daniel Inouye served as the senator from Hawaii since 1963, one would think his last wishes would hold some sway. However, while Inouye made it clear before his death last week that he wanted U.S. Rep. Colleen W. Hanabusa to replace him, on Wednesday Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed his Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz to the position. Abercrombie said he'd taken Inouye's opinion into account, but “No one and nothing is preordained." With Hawaii's other senator, Daniel Akaka, retiring at the end of this session, the state is seeing a major political upheaval, and fiscal cliff negotiations made things more complicated. Harry Reid had urged Abercrombie to fill the seat quickly to ensure Senate Democrats still have a 55-to-45 majority. Schatz is flying to Washington immediately so he can be sworn in as soon as possible, though it seems other members of Congress are still taking their time.