WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) gave the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate on the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye:
“Mr. President, I come to the floor today to pay tribute to an American hero, a great Senator, a great man, and a dear friend—Senator Daniel Inouye.
“Senator Inouye dedicated his life to public service. And through his hard and faithful work, he has left his nation, and the state he loved so dearly—far better, in so many ways.
“We will all hear a lot in the days ahead about the barriers Danny broke down over the course of his life.
“We will hear about his service in times of war, and in peace. About his heroism. About his love for his family, his state, and his country.
“And we will hear about the admiration and respect he‘s earned from so many of us here in the Senate—on both sides of the aisle—over the course of a long and storied career.
“But Mr. President, what I want to focus on today is the Danny Inouye who has been there for me as a friend and mentor for the past twenty years, who has been a shining light in this chamber, and who has set an example for all of us who measure our work not simply in words, but in actions.
“Senator Inouye was certainly not the loudest member in this chamber. He was certainly not the most verbose. And he wasn’t a Senator who spent his time making long-winded speeches.
“But through his quiet resolve, his understated strength, and his commitment to doing the right thing, no matter what—he was able to accomplish so much.
“Senator Inouye led the Appropriations Committee through difficult times with grace and incredible effectiveness.
“The partisan rancor that too often dominates this city was unacceptable to him—and he made that clear to all of us.
“Danny’s focus was on people. On the infrastructure they depend on in our communities. On the most vulnerable. On our military families. And on the state of Hawaii.
“Mr. President—if Danny Inouye was a giant here in the Senate—he was a mountain back home.
“Hawaii would not be Hawaii without Danny Inouye.
“He fought for his state. He would not allow it to be ignored. And he made it a better place to live and to work for generations to come.
“Mr. President—as the Senator from another state far from Washington, D.C.—I learned a lot from Senator Inouye about how to advocate for the people who elect you—and how to make sure they never get lost in the mix.
“Through his quiet and shining example, we all learned a bit more about bipartisanship—I remember Danny huddling closely with his good friend Senator Stevens, from Alaska.
“We all learned a bit more about effectiveness—He knew how to get things done, more than anyone I’ve seen before or since.
“We all learned a bit more about humility—You’d never hear him talk about himself.
“We all learned a bit more about respect, about kindness—toward all, not just those you agree with.
“And Mr. President—Danny helped us all remember—every single day—why we all came here in the first place.
“I can’t tell you how many times Danny would stand his ground on issues that others would have given up on, simply because he knew the impact it would have on real people.
“He knew that this was about so much more than politics—or legislative games. It was about helping people, solving problems—and delivering for our communities and our nation.
“Mr. President—Danny Inouye impressed me every day for twenty years—but nothing impressed me more than his love for and commitment to his family.
“I just got off the phone with his wife Irene a few minutes ago and I expressed my condolences.
“Danny will be missed terribly—but he has left so much to remember him by.
“His legislative achievements, of course.
“The roads that would not have been built had he not been there. The military bases that would not have existed had he not fought for them. The ports, bridges, and trains that would have been less safe had he not been there to move the legislation that strengthened them. And so much more.
“But Danny will be remembered far beyond his many tangible achievements.
“He will live on through the values he embodied—and spread.
“Through the principles he stood up for—and shared.
“Though his family who love him dearly.
“Through the people who will never forget his advocacy.
“Through the country he sacrificed so much for.
“And through all of us, who are forever better simply for having served with the greatest Senator, Danny Inouye.”