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Hawaii U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye Dies

Sen. Daniel Inouye has died.

Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images

The influential Democrat from Hawaii broke racial barriers on Capitol Hill and played key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals. He had served in the senate for 50 years and was third in the line presidential succession as president pro tempore of the Senate.

Inouye was a World War II hero and Medal of Honor winner who lost an arm to a German hand grenade during a battle in Italy. He became the first Japanese-American to serve in Congress, when he was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He won election to the Senate three years later and served there longer than anyone in American history except Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died in 2010 after 51 years in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Inouye’s death on the Senate floor. His office says he died of respiratory complications at a Washington-area hospital. He was 88.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is now third in the line of presidential succession. The Senate late Monday passed a resolution approving Leahy as president pro tempore.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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