Former United States Senator Daniel Akaka was a noble man, who did his best to do right by his beliefs during his political career. He was the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the United States senate, and he certainly did the title proud.
His political career began in 1976 when he was elected to serve in the House of Representatives. Eventually, he worked his way up to United States Senator, where he stayed until he retired in 2013 after a long and fruitful career.
Daniel was dedicated to the rights of Native Hawaiians and veterans, and did everything he could to help them. He wasn’t an overstated senator who would seek out the spotlight, and he much prefered to be working in the background to help his people the best way he could. He earned the respect of his people and the other senators in Washington, and by the time he retired he was one of the most respected senators around.
Although many believe he did not achieve much for the state during his time, his record is one that is quite under the radar, like he was. With the help of the another Hawaiian senator, Dan Inouye, they were able to secure funding for native Hawaiian education, health and social service programs.
Daniel was born in Honolulu on September 11, 1924. Growing up, his family was poor and but extremely devoted to the church. His older brother, Abraham Akaka, even went on to become a well-known pastor at Kawaiahao Church.
He went on to attend the University of Hawaii, where he earned a master’s in education. In 1953, he began an 18-year career working in education. He started as a teacher but eventually managed to work his way up to vice principal and then principal.
When asked about his decision to move into politics from education, he said that he could have happily remained an educator for the rest of his life, but he felt there was a better opportunity to help others if he became a politician.
He married Mary Mildred Chong, and together, the couple had five children, fifteen grandchildren, and countless great-grandchildren. He was a devoted father and family man, and loved his family more than he could ever say.
Daniel will be sorely missed by his family, who are surely devastated by the loss. Please, pray for his family to find peace in the wake of this horrible loss.
This is a horrible story, and we know that sometimes we need a reminder of the good in the world at a time like this, so be sure to check out the video below!