Former Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) was sworn in Thursday as the state's newest U.S. senator, replacing veteran Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), who died last week.
Schatz, who was named to fill the vacancy by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) on Wednesday, flew overnight to Washington aboard Air Force One to arrive in time to be seated and take part in key end-of-year votes, including any possible plan to avert the fiscal cliff.
Schatz, 40--who will be the Senate's youngest member until senators elected in November take office next month--entered the chamber just before 2:30 p.m. and immediately was embraced by Hawaii's other Sen. Daniel Akaka (D).
He then approached the rostrum with Akaka, where Vice President Biden stood waiting to administer the oath, holding a Tanakh--the Hebrew Bible--in one hand and Akaka's hand in the other.
After the quick ceremony, Akaka, who will retire from the Senate next month, rose to call Schatz a "leader for Hawaii's present and for our future."
"Daniel Inouye will always be a legend in Hawaii," Akaka said of the president pro tempore and Medal of Honor winner who had served in the Senate since 1963. "We must honor his legacy by working together for the people of Hawaii."
Abercrombie chose Schatz over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), who Inouye had indicated shortly before his death would be his choice to replace him.