By Neil Torquiano
Channel 2 News
3:39 PM AKST, December 17, 2012
Senator Daniel Inouye, of Hawaii, and longtime friend of the late Sen. Ted Stevens died Monday at the age of 88 after respiratory complications, according to his office.
Sen. Inouye, D-HI, was a World War II veteran and served in the Senate since 1962 for nine consecutive terms – the second longest serving Senator in U.S. history.
Inouye and Stevens shared a history in the Senate with Inouye even testifying as character witness for Stevens during the corruption probe in 2008 and was one of the many dignitaries who attended Stevens' funeral in 2010.
Inouye also had a connection with Alaska Natives with his work to support indigenous rights of Native Hawaiians and was an honored host and speaker at many Alaska Federation of Natives conferences.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, issued a statement saying “He felt the bond shared by the two ‘island states’ of Alaska and Hawaii, taking a lasting pride in his close friendship with Senator Ted Stevens, a man he called his brother. “
Rep. Don Young, R-AK, also had words on the senior senator's service as "a war hero and member of the “Greatest Generation,” Senator Inouye was an institution in the Senate and was a tireless public servant for Hawaii since before its statehood."
Sen. Mark Begich, D-AK, highlighted some of Sen. Inouye ‘s work connected with Alaska, including supporting the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and recently the marine debris bill dealing with tsunami debris from Japan.
Beigich said "Sen. Inouye was a staunch ally of all Alaskans, and his loss will be deeply felt, particularly by the indigenous peoples for whom he was such a champion."
Inouye’s office said his last words were “Aloha,” and when he was recently asked how he wanted to be remembered, Inouye said “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK.”
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