NCL statement on the passing of Senator Inouye – National Consumers League

December 19, 2012

Contact: Carol McKay, NCL Communications,, (412) 945-3242

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League is saddened to learn of the death of Senator Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and the president pro-tempore of the Senate. We salute him for his distinguished service to the nation.

Senator Inouye represented Hawaii in Congress — first as a representative, from 1959 to 1963, when Hawaii first bccame a state,  and then as a senator. As a high-school student, Inouye witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Inouye was always among the first to speak out against injustice, whether interned Japanese Americans, Filipino World War II veterans, Native Americans and Native Hawaii.

Senator Inouye was injured in battle during World War II  and had his arm amputated without anesthetic, as doctors were concerned that drugs  would drive his blood pressure too low.

Inouye studied law at George Washington University, returned to Hawaii, and became a member of the U.S. House on August 21, 1959, the day it became a state. While in Congress, he served on the Senate Watergate Committee and later a special committee on the Iran-Contra scandal as well. He also gave the keynote speech at the chaotic 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. He was asked recently how he wished to be remembered. “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK,” he said.

The story of Senator Dan Inouye is the story of modern Hawaii. During his eight decades of public service, the Senator helped build and shape Hawaii.

When the Democrats regained control in the 2006 elections, Inouye became chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, a Committee with which NCL frequently works. He left that post two years later to become chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Inouye became president pro-tem of the Senate in 2010, when Senator Robert Byrd died. Byrd is the only senator to serve longer than Inouye (51 years, 5 months, and 26 days versus 49 years, 349 days). He had intended to run for reelection in 2016, at age 92. His last words were “Aloha.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit