REMEMBERING DANIEL AKAKA; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 57
(Senate - April 10, 2018)

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[Pages S2032-S2033]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        REMEMBERING DANIEL AKAKA

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, today I wish to pay tribute to a dedicated 
public servant, a beloved statesman, and a gentleman of the Senate: 
Senator Daniel Akaka. On Friday, Senator Akaka passed away peacefully 
with his family gathered by his bedside. He leaves behind not only a 
strong record of legislative achievement, but a legacy of love and 
Aloha that animated his work here in the Senate.
  Senator Akaka committed his life to public service. Whether as a 
soldier, educator, or Senator, he dedicated himself fully to the 
betterment of our Nation. After graduating high school in 1942, Senator 
Akaka enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers, playing a key role in 
critical construction projects across the Pacific Theater during World 
War II. Senator Akaka's military service was a springboard to even 
greater opportunities, allowing him to finance a college education 
through the GI bill.
  As a beneficiary of this historic legislation, Senator Akaka was 
perhaps the greatest advocate of our troops during his time here in the 
Senate, writing and spearheading passage of the 21st Century GI bill. 
He wanted our servicemembers to have the same opportunity he had to 
transition into civilian life, receive an education, and change this 
country for the better.
  With help from the GI bill, Senator Akaka earned both a bachelor's 
and master's degree in education from the University of Hawaii. For 
nearly two decades, he worked in Hawaii's public schools, first as a 
teacher and eventually as a principal. Working in the trenches of 
America's public education system, Senator Akaka gained the

[[Page S2033]]

hands-on experience he would need as a legislator to take an active 
role in some of the most important education reforms of modern times.
  After working as both a teacher and an administrator, Senator Akaka 
served as the chief program planner in the department of health, 
education, and welfare, and eventually served as the director of the 
Hawaii Office of Economic Opportunity. The sterling reputation Senator 
Akaka gained in State government helped launch his legislative career, 
and in 1976, the people of Hawaii elected him to the U.S. House of 
Representatives. He had a distinguished record as a Congressman before 
Hawaii elected him to the Senate in 1990.
  In this chamber, Senator Akaka worked hard on behalf of our Native 
populations as the chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee. He also 
fought valiantly for our troops as the Chairman of the Veterans' 
Affairs Committee, ensuring that our men and women in uniform were well 
taken care of upon returning home.
  Having served alongside Senator Akaka for more than two decades, I 
remember best the spirit of civility he embodied as a legislator. He 
was caring and kind, loving and loyal, genuine and generous to all. He 
represented the best of this body in his willingness to lay aside 
partisan differences for the good of the Nation. Although we were 
members of different parties, he was the kind of Senator you could work 
with, never letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  I consider myself lucky to have known Senator Akaka and even luckier 
to have called him a friend. Today my prayers are with Senator Akaka's 
family and the people of Hawaii, whom he loved and served so selflessly 
for so many years.