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The Inouye Legacy

What he’s doing now to ensure Hawaii’s future

(page 4 of 4)

Dan’s long-range plan

During his five decades in Congress, Daniel Inouye has long had a specific plan as he worked to secure Hawaii’s long-term economic stability and security. It’s a plan not always obvious in the daily controversies over federal spending, earmarks and pork barrel politics.

The twin pillars of Inouye’s bedrock plan are:

1. To integrate Hawaii’s Islands into one economic unit, bringing the often-ignored Neighbor Islands fully into the mix;

2. To make Hawaii as indispensable to the nation as possible.

Whether it is the Barbers Point Deep- Draft Harbor, the Maui supercomputer, the Saddle Road on the Big Island, the sprawling network of fiber-optic cables that serves both the military and civilians, or the new high-tech headquarters for the Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Inouye says, his projects always serve those two purposes.

Inouye’s name doesn’t go here

For all the capital projects Inouye has won for Hawaii, you won’t see his name on many of them. That’s deliberate, he says.

“If your colleagues know you want a project because you wanted to be recognized from here to eternity, they will use it against you.” Thus, there are few “Inouye” facilities in Hawaii.

But, Inouye says with a laugh, one of the few facilities with his name is a dining facility at Camp Smith called the “Inouye Mess.”

After he sought federal funding to upgrade the swine production industry on the Big Island, Inouye says, he was honored by having one of the animals named after him – “Danny Boy.” And one of four new tugboats at Pearl Harbor is named in his honor, but is not called The Inouye. Officially, it is called Kaimanahila, a traditional Inouye campaign song. Informally, it is called “two scoop rice,” after the senator’s standard order when he eats at Zippy’s.

Some of his biggest projects

Here is a sampling of the many Hawaii projects Inouye has pushed through Congress in the past several years.

Maui Supercomputer:

The Maui High Performance Computing Center was created in 1993 to support the Department of Defense and to stimulate technology development on Maui and throughout Hawaii. The MHPCC has received more than $60 million in support, providing access to parallel computing hardware, advanced software, high bandwidth communications and high-performance storage technologies to researchers.

Saddle Road on Big Island:

Hawaii annually receives about $130 million in federal highway formula funds to support the state and the four counties. On top of that, dollars have been specifically set aside for priority projects on all Islands. For example, the federal government has invested $200.4 million over the past 10 years in the construction of the Saddle Road to ensure the safety of public motorists and military users.

Pacific Missile Range improvements:

PMR features the military’s latest technology in protecting both Hawaii and the U.S. from ballistic missile attacks. More than $944 million has been invested in and around the range – the largest industrial and technology employer on Kauai.

Imiloa Astronomy Center:

Located at the foot of Mauna Kea in Hilo, Imiloa is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and Mauna Kea astronomy – combined to bring a vibrant educational experience to Hawaii’s youth and demonstrating that science and culture are not mutually exclusive. Thanks to nearly $15 million in federal funding, there have been more than 120,000 visitors since it opened in 2006.

Agricultural research on the Big Island:

The Pacific Basin Agriculture Research Center in Hilo provides research support for the transformation from plantation agriculture to a diversified agriculture in Hawaii and America’s Pacific territories. About $48 million in federal funds helped complete Phase I; plans and about $15 million in funding for Phase II construction are ongoing.

Camp Smith Headquarters:

Since 2000, nearly $90 million has been appropriated to build a state-of-the-art headquarters for the Pacific Command overlooking Pearl Harbor. The command has jurisdiction over a sweep of the Pacific and Asia reaching nearly to the Mid-East.

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

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Oct 8, 2009 06:34 pm
 Posted by  Kristine Kubat

Your article on Senator Inouye is pure unabashed campaigning for a figure who is far more controversial than you are willing to admit. Why didn't you interview people who disapprove of his style of politics and his iron grip on local politics? Why didn't you include commentary from people who understand the economic disaster he has created here? It is outsiders who profit most from his lavish spending sprees while forcing the native born down on the socio-economic ladder. Because of his grand plan we are painfully dependent on imported goods and little more than a welfare state at a time when we should be leading the world in the quest for sustainability. Shame on you!

Jan 12, 2010 09:20 am
 Posted by  meg

To make comments is easy; to implement work is a heavy duty.
Caldwell was true on Senator Inouye's deep concern for the underdog group who do not receive the attention or services they deserve.
Giving time for righteousness to the helpless is a vocation in itself. It is a grace only GOD can bestow upon man. It pushes man to have compassion to people who need help.
I am a mother of a Gulf War Veteran likened to a chewing gum spitted to garbage whom he fought for justice, righteousness and equity

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