Daniel Akaka (1924 – 2018)

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A tremendous amount of needless pain and suffering can be eliminated by ensuring that health insurance is universally available.

– Daniel Akaka

U.S. Senator from Hawaii (D), 1990-2013

Daniel Akaka was the first Native Hawaiian in the U.S Senate, building up a loyalty among his Hawaiian constituents and within the Democratic Party.

In his 36 years in Congress, Akaka devoted much effort for the representation of Native Hawaiians, and Asian Americans broadly. In 1993, he secured both congressional and presidential apologies for the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1983, a coup backed by the U.S, and often lamented one of the most major cultural losses.

During his early tenures as George Ariyoshi’s special assistant, Akaka developed his political interest to help the Native Hawaiian community by focusing on a “behind-the-scenes” approach. After serving in the House from 1978 to 1988, Akaka won a seat in Senate. He frequently supported bills and measures which addressed issues on agriculture, energy and natural resources, veterans’ affairs, governmental affairs, and urban affairs, participating in a number corresponding committees during his tenure. 


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