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Sen. Begich Statement on Passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye

Sen. Mark Begich issued the following statement on the passing of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye today:

“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. I was lucky to be able to serve beside him for the past four years, and learned a great deal from him. From my very first day in U.S. Senate, Sen. Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano, welcomed Deborah and I into the Senate family and really became a mentor for me.

“Sen. Inouye always championed Alaska issues as if he was a part of our Alaska delegation, fighting for the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline, funding for Alaska villages, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and most recently my push to secure better access to health care for Alaska’s rural veterans. Sen. Inouye sponsored the marine debris bill I cosponsored to help address tsunami debris from Japan that is now washing ashore in Hawaii and Alaska. This is just one small example of the ways we worked together to advance the best interests of Alaskans and Hawaiians, who share so much in common, including our geographic isolation and status as newer states.

“I was honored to have him join me in Alaska this spring. We will always remember his hearty laugh and ready smile. Today is a sad day for Alaskans, Hawaiians and all Americans. His long, honorable career will not soon be forgotten.”

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