At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. Representative (1976 to 1990)
- Birthday: Sept. 11, 1924
- Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
- Alma Mater: University of Hawaii, B.A., 1952; University of Hawaii, Masters in Education, 1966
- Spouse: Mary Mildred Chong
- Religion: Congregationalist
- Committees: Chairman, Indian Affairs ; Senate Veterans Affairs ; Armed Services ; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
- DC Office: 141 Hart Senate Office Building, 202-224-6361
- State Office: Honolulu, 808-522-8970; Hilo, 8080935-1114
- Web site
Path to Power
Akaka was born in Honolulu. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers soon after graduating from high school, and served in Saipan and Tinian from 1943 through 1947. He began college on the G.I. Bill shortly after returning home, graduating from the University of Hawaii in 1952.
He taught high school from 1953 through 1960, and was then hired as a principal. His political career began when the governor appointed Akaka to direct Hawaii's anti-poverty programs in 1971. He was named Assistant to the Governor in 1975.
Akaka has a solidly liberal voting record, siding with his party 97 percent of the time.
He opposed the Iraq war from the start, along with the bill to create the Homeland Security Department and the Patriot Act. He is slightly less liberal on foreign and defense issues, in large part because Hawaii is vulnerable attacks by rogue states like North Korea due to its location.
Akaka often teams with his colleague, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The two have co-sponsored several bills, including the 1993 apology resolution. When Akaka faced a strong primary challenge, Inouye campaigned constantly at his side.
He has also worked closely with Alaska GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski and former Sen. Ted Stevens. They share a sense that mainland senators often ignore the needs of their states, and Akaka has gone out of his way to support legislation introduced by them, including allowing offshore oil drilling.