December 18, 2012
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chairman Inouye. He was the epitome of public service, from the Medal of Honor in recognition of his service in WWII, to his steadying leadership as President pro Tempore of the Senate, and Chair of its Appropriations Committee. His quiet strength, fierce dignity and passion for his beloved Aloha state and this country were obvious in everything he did.
During my four years as NOAA Administrator, I had the privilege of meeting with him multiple times, both in his DC offices and in Hawai'i. He told me frequently how important NOAA was to his people – from weather and tsunami warnings to healthy oceans and sustainable fisheries to the science that underpins them all. And he understood and supported the importance of integrating them. The Senator appreciated the need to balance protection with use of our natural resources and was a true champion for NOAA and our mission.
My condolences go out to his wife and family, and I want them to know how much those of us who worked with him loved and respected him. I have no doubt that his legacy will live on throughout this nation that he served so well.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
and NOAA Administrator