tv U.S. Senate Sen. Daniel Akaka Farewell Address CSPAN April 6, 2018 9:33pm-9:50pm EDT
senate judiciary and commerce committee's. and on wednesday before the house energy and commerce committee. watch live coverage on c-span3 and c-span.org and listen live with the c-span radio cap. akakamer senator daniel of hawaii has died at the age of 93. he was the first native hawaiian to serve in the senate. his political career started in the house in 1976. he became a senator in 1990. at one time he chaired the senate affairs committee. this is about 15 minutes. mr. akaka: madam president? the presiding officer: the the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: madam president, i rise to give me remarks and my aloha to the united states
senate. madam president, before i begin, i want to say that my good friend, my colleague of 36 years, my brother dan inouye, hawaii's senior senator, i wish him a speedy recovery and return to the senate. mr. president, i -- i mean, madam president, i rise today to say aloha to this institution. i have been honored to be a member of the united states senate for 22 years. it has been an incredible
journey that i never imagined. as a senior in high school going to kamemha school for boys, which was noted as a military school, my life was changed for school. when i saw japanese fighter planes attacking pearl harbor. like most men in my generation, i joined the war effort. my path was forever altered. when the war ended, i believe i was suffering from ptsd. it was an act of congress that allowed me and the veterans of my generation, to build successful new kind of lives. congress passed the g.i. bill
and i say with certainty that i would not be standing before you today without the opportunity that the g.i. bill gave me. not only to get an education but to have structure and a path forward, and the feeling that there was a way for me to help people. this proved to me that when congress acts responsibly, it can build a better america. that is why when i was blessed with the opportunity to lead the senate committee on veterans' affairs, i dedicated myself helping our service members and veterans and their families and worked with my colleagues to expand v.a. services and pass a
new 21st century g.i. bill. so i want to take this moment to urge all of my colleagues and all of the incoming senators and representatives that they do everything they can for veterans and their families, because we asked to sacrifice so much for us. they put their lives on the line while their wives and husbands watched over their families. caring for them is one of the most sacred obligations as a nation, and not everyone on the front lines making our nation stronger wears a uniform. in many critical fields, the
federal government struggles to compete with the private sector to recruit and retain the skilled people our nation needs. experts in cybersecurity and intelligence analysis, doctors and nurses to care for our wounded warriors, accountants to protect taxpayers during billion-dollar defense acquisitions, these are just a few examples. after i leave the senate, it is my hope that other members will continue to focus on making the federal government an employer of choice. we need the best and brightest working for our nation. the work of the united states congress will never end, but careers come to a close.
like the great men whose names are etched here in this desk, i am humbled to know i have left my mark on this institution. i'm proud to be the first native hawaiian ever to serve in the senate, just as i am so proud to be one of the three u.s. army world war ii veterans who remain in the senate today. the united states is a great country. one of the things that makes us so great is that though we have made mistakes, we change, we correct them, we right past wrongs. it is our responsibility as a nation to do right by america's native people.
those who exercise sovereignty on lands that later became part of the united states. while we can never change the past, we have the power to change the future. throughout my career, i have worked to ensure that my colleagues understand the federal relationship with native peoples and its origins in the constitution. the united states policy of supporting self-determination and self-governance for indigenous peoples leads to native self-sufficiency, resulting in our continued ability to be productive and contribute to the well-being of our families, our communities, and our great nation. that is why i work to secure parity in federal policy for my
people, the native hawaiians. the united states has recognized hundreds of alaska native and american indian communities. it is long past time for the native hawaiian people to have the same rights, same privilege, and same opportunities as every other federally recognized native people. for more than 12 years now i have worked with the native hawaiian community and many others to develop the native hawaiian government reorganization act, which has the strong support of hawaii's legislature and governor as the best path forward towards reconciliation. my bill has incurred many challenges but it is right, it is long overdue.
although i will not be the bill's sponsor in the 113th congress, it will forever bear my highest aspirations and heartfelt commitment to the native hawaiian people, the state of hawaii, and the united states of america. i know i'm just one in a long line working to ensure that our language, our culture, and our people continue to thrive for generations to come. hawaii has so much, i believe, to teach the world and this institution, and congress and in our nation, we are truly all together in the same canoe. if we paddle together in unison, we can travel great distances. if the two sides of the canoe
paddle in opposite directions, we will go in circles. i urge my colleagues to take this traditional hawaiian symbol to heart and put the american people first by working together. i want to say mahalo maa loa, thank you very much to my incredible staff. after 36 years there are far too many individuals to name, so i will just thank all of my current and former staff members in my senate and house offices and under my committees, including indian affairs, veterans' affairs, and the subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal work force, and the district of columbia.
i want to thank the hundreds of employees who work for the architect of the capitol and the sergeant at arms. without the hard work they do every day, we could not do what we do in the senate. mahalo, thank you 0 the floor and the leadership staff as well i also want to thank chaplain barry black, who has provided me so much guidance and strength, and has done more to bring the two sides of the chamber together and find common ground than just about anyone. and i want to thank our colleagues who join together every week for prayer breakfast and also bible study as well.
and all of these have helped to shape me in the things that i do here. and there is no one i owe more to than my lovely wife of 65 years, millie. she is literally there for me whenever i need her. nearly every day that i've served in the senate for the past 22 years, millie has come to the office with me. she makes me lump, she keeps me focused and she makes sure i know what is happening back home. she means the world to me. every honor i've received belongs to her and to my family, my children, my
grandchildren and great grandchildren. this speech is their farewell speech, too. so mahalo, millie, and my family. in life there are seasons. while leaving congress is bittersweet, i am looking forward to spending more time with our five children, getting to know our 15 great grandchildren, and can you believe this, we are expecting our 16th great grandchild next year. i will be hope to see it. i am looking forward to speaking with students and mentoring up-and-coming leaders and visiting places in hawaii that i have worked for over my career.
my goal was to bring the spirit of aloha to our nation's capital in everything i do. in hawaii, we look out for one another, we work together, we treat each other with respect. i hope i succeeded in sharing a little bit of hawaii with all of you. as i come to the end of 22 years in this chamber, and a total of 36 years serving in congress, i offer my profound gratitude and humble thanks to the people of hawaii for giving me the opportunity to serve them for so many years. it truly was the experience of a lifetime. all i ever wanted was to be able to help people, and you gave me that opportunity.
so mahalo nui loa. in hawaii we don't say goodbye. we say until we meet again. although i'm retiring, i see this as the start of a new chapter and new season. and i am blessed to have made friendships and partnerships that will last forever. god bless hawaii, god bless the united states of america with the spirit of aloha.
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