Inouye plans small, private wedding for the spring
Hawaii's senior senator had met his fiancee 25 years ago
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It will be a spring wedding for Hawaii's Sen. Dan Inouye. The senior senator is planning to marry Irene Hirano, president and chief executive officer of the Japanese American National Museum, on May 24 in Los Angeles.
Inouye said it will be a private church service with just immediate family attending. Hirano said she wanted a "simple service."
It is the second marriage for both. Inouye's first wife, Margaret, died in 2006 and Hirano was divorced about 20 years ago.
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U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye is getting married May 24 to a Los Angeles woman whom he has known for years through his service on the board of directors of the Japanese American National Museum.
His fiancee, Irene Hirano, 59, has been the president and chief executive officer of the museum in Los Angeles since 1988.
"Irene is an extraordinary women of grace, intelligence and accomplishment," Inouye said in a brief release from his Washington office. "She is a rare gem in our society. Without question, I am a very fortunate and lucky man."
Hawaii's senior senator lost his wife of nearly 57 years, Margaret, in March 2006.
The couple plans a private ceremony before their immediate families at a church in Los Angeles.
Last night, Hirano said in a phone interview that she has long known Inouye, chairman of the museum board of governors. Hirano has been a strong supporter of Inouye, giving his 1998 campaign $1,000 and his 2004 campaign $2,000, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hirano graduated from the University of Southern California in 1970 and has a 27-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Inouye has a son who works in Washington.
Honolulu lawyer Jeff Watanabe, Inouye's friend, said he is happy for Inouye.
"I know the senator is active in the museum," Watanabe said. "I am delighted for him, and I am glad he found someone."
Hirano said she has worked with many groups and individuals from Hawaii while managing the Japanese American National Museum.
After meeting Inouye 25 years ago, Hirano said she has been coming to Hawaii every year on business.
"I go to Hawaii at least twice a year for work with the Japanese American National Museum -- sometimes more per year depending on our schedule of exhibitions and programs in Hawaii," Hirano said.
Because she will be working with the museum on a fundraising campaign, Hirano said she will keep her home in California and divide her time between Washington and "many other parts of the country."
Hirano is the former executive director of T.H.E. Clinic Inc. in Los Angeles, a nonprofit multicultural community clinic providing medical, counseling and education services; a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, Administration on Aging; and associate director of the Asian Women's Center.
She also is a board member of the Kresge Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, a member of Toyota Corp.'s Diversity Advisory Board, and a member of the Business Advisory Board of Sodexho Corp.