Brian Schatz, who was selected to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye Wednesday, was sworn into office by Vice President Joe Biden Thursday.
Schatz, who attended the same Hawaiian prep-school as the president, shared an Air Force One flight to Washington, D.C., with Obama Wednesday night.
“Just had a nice, brief chat with the President on Air Force One,” Schatz tweeted. “Looking forward to supporting his agenda in the Senate.”
Before passing away at the age of 88 last week, Sen. Inouye had indicated that he wanted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to fill his seat in the Senate. Despite the late Senator’s request, Gov. Neil Abercrombie selected Schatz, his lieutenant governor.
“These are challenging times for Hawaii,” Abercrombie said in a statement. “We are mourning the loss of Sen. Daniel Inouye, a leader who gave a lifetime of selfless service to our country. At the same time, this is an opportunity to build on the remarkable foundation Sen. Inouye laid.”
Abercrombie added that Hanabusa’s role in the House Armed Services Committee was vital to Hawaii.
Aides of the late Sen. Inouye expressed dismay that Abercrombie disregarded his selection.
“While we are very disappointed that it was not honored, it was the Governor’s decision to make,” said Jennifer Sabas, chief of staff to Sen. Inouye’s office. ”We wish Brian Schatz the best of luck.”