Why He Matters
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) selected Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz on Dec. 26, 2012, to fill the vacancy created by the death of veteran U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D). Abercrombie chose Schatz, 40, a former state Democratic Party chairman and state lawmaker, over U.S. Rep. Colleen W. Hanabusa (D), whom Inouye had indicated shortly before his death would be his preference to replace him.
Schatz will hold the job for two years until Hawaii voters choose a replacement to fill out the final two years of Inouye’s term. Schatz, who is now one of the Senate’s youngest members, told reporters that he is planning to stand for election in 2014 to complete Inouye’s term and then to run for reelection in 2016. “No one can fill Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s shoes — but together, all of us, we can try to walk in his footsteps,” Schatz said, indicating he would focus on retaining federal funding for the state and addressing climate change. Abercrombie said Schatz, a native of Michigan, was best positioned to help Hawaii begin to rebuild its congressional seniority. He called Schatz “intelligent, forceful, insightful, committed.”