1. Daniel K. Inouye
Title: U.S. Senator
Nickname: The Institution
Power Surge: Although he rose to national prominence as a member of the Watergate Commission in the ’70s and then later as the chairman of the Iran-Contra Committee in the late ’80s, the iconic senior senator is respected for his ability to rise above the partisan fray. As a result, Inouye’s power doesn’t ebb and flow with Washington’s political tides. It just grows stronger and stronger with every passing administration. Inouye is the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which means that Hawaii has received more than its fair share of Spam and other pork products over the years. According to the Citizens Against Government Waste, in 2004, the senator was responsible for $494 million, or $392 per person, in federal appropriations for Hawaii. That put him behind only Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the Committee’s chairman.
Power Play: No one has been as important to the development of modern Hawaii as Inouye has, symbolizing almost every kind of political value that Islanders hold dear. Inouye, a 442nd veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and Democratic Party activist, represents a chapter of modern Hawaiian history that is sacred.
Personal Voltage: The senator is a force of nature. Someday there will be an aircraft carrier with Inouye’s name on it, and it will be home ported in Hawaii.