December 17, 2012

Kathy Ko, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), issued the following statement after today’s passing of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the highest ranking Asian American and Pacific Islander, the longest current serving senator at the time of his death, and the second longest in Senate history.

“Senator Inouye was not only a great leader for the American people, but he was also a strong advocate for equality and justice.
During his years on Capitol Hill, the senator helped ensure that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI) had a seat at the table. He fought for and helped to build an infrastructure for health policy during his decades on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Without his work, the many health issues facing Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders today would have gone overlooked. He was a champion for our community, and a great partner to APIAHF.

He cherished his role as senator because he cherished the people he served and our country. We at APIAHF, the civil rights community, the people of Hawaii and the AA and NHPI community have lost a dear friend. Our hearts go out to his wife Irene Hirano Inouye, his family and all who love him. ”