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Akaka announces he will not run for re-election in 2012

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Senator will serve out the rest of his term and allow Hawaii voters to choose his successor

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) issued the following statement Wednesday, March 2:

After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012. As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii. In 2006, the people of Hawaii gave me an opportunity to continue my service in the United States Senate and I fully intend to serve the last two years of my term in office.

At the end of this term, I will have served almost 22 years in the United States Senate and, prior to that, more than 13 years in the United States House of Representatives. I am proud of my accomplishments and my incredible staff in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. They have exemplified the true meaning of being a public servant. They have worked tirelessly and without their dedication and loyalty, I could not have accomplished all that I did.

Millie and I will return to Hawaii at the end of this Congress and spend time with our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I would also like to spend time documenting my life and career, and serving as a mentor to future political leaders. I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha, never forgetting my humble beginnings, and it is my hope that they, too, will continue this tradition. We must never forget that we, as political leaders, work for the people of Hawaii and not the special interests.

I will always cherish the time I spent working in Washington, D.C., and extend my heartfelt thanks to the people of Hawaii for their confidence in me.

I would like to thank my family, my staff and my friends for their unwavering support. I would like to especially thank my wife, Millie, for her continuous support and encouragement. I could not have done it without her.

Finally, I would like to thank Sen. Dan Inouye. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and steadfast support.

Comments and reactions about Akaka’s retirement announcement

President Obama:

“Danny Akaka answered the call to serve right after high school by joining the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. When he returned to Honolulu, he continued to serve the people of Hawaii as an educator before embarking on more than three decades of distinguished service in both houses of Congress. Danny spent his career fighting for our troops, veterans and their families and for the rights of Native Hawaiians. He worked tirelessly to reform Wall Street and to make sure that consumers and small business owners are treated fairly in our system. His voice in the Senate will be missed. Michelle and I would like to join the people of Hawaii in saying ‘mahalo’ to Danny for his lifetime of service and offer both him and Millie our best wishes for the future.”

Sen. Daniel Inouye:

“I want to thank Sen. Akaka for his service to Hawaii and the nation. For nearly four decades, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, Sen. Akaka has fought hard for the people of Hawaii. He is a tireless advocate for Hawaii’s residents and a true ambassador of Aloha. He has been a willing and loyal partner and we have worked very well together over these many years. We have much more to do and I look forward to working with him over the next two years. Kanieala, thank you for your friendship and unwavering support. Irene and I wish you and Millie all the best in your future endeavors.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie:

His soul is one with Hawaii. His love for Hawaii and ours for him is as one. He is a true son of Hawaii that we welcome back home with hearts full of the aloha that is Daniel Akaka. The words aloha and Akaka are interchangeable. Daniel Akaka is Hawaii.”

Ed Case:

Today Sen. Akaka announced that he would not seek re-election to the U. S. Senate at the end of his current term next year. Sen. Akaka has served our Hawaii and country on Capitol Hill capably and with integrity and humility for over 34 years, including over 20 years in the Senate. He has truly been Hawaii’s Senator, and the decision to move on must have been very difficult. But who can fault his desire to return to his home, enjoy time with his family and friends, reflect on a fascinating life and keep on contributing in different ways. I also respect Sen. Akaka’s decision to serve out his term. He was elected to it and he should finish out his full remaining 22 months. He’s also provided the people of Hawaii with the gift of a long lead time to consider his successor and the ability to chose that person in a statewide vote. For all of this Sen. Akaka has earned our gratitude. Mahalo, Senator. For those who’ve asked, I remain interested in serving Hawaii in the U. S. Senate. Today, though, is not the time and place for that decision; that will come soon enough.”

Mufi Hannemann:

“I would like to convey my personal gratitude and aloha to Sen. Akaka, Millie and their ohana. As Sen. Akaka has done throughout his public service career, he has acted with what he believes is in the best interest of the State of Hawaii, putting the people of Hawaii before any personal interest. We will miss his understanding hand, wise counsel and gentlemanly demeanor when he retires. While some may be curious, there will be plenty of time to discuss my own personal plans in light of his announcement. Today, however, is a day to sing Sen. Akaka’s praises. And there is much to sing about…”

Akaka’s Service

The 86-year-old Honolulu native was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1977 and served through 1990.

In 1990, the Democrat assumed the seat in U.S. Senate vacated by Spark Matsunaga. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

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