RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and his fiancee, Irene Hirano, talked yesterday with Chelsea Clinton at a Democratic rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton at Ryan's Grill at Ward Centre.
Audience greets Inouye’s fiancee
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye introduced his bride-to-be to fellow Democrats yesterday during a campaign stop for former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
Before Inouye passed the microphone to Clinton, who has been campaigning for her mother in Hawaii this weekend, he introduced his fiancee, Irene Hirano.
"I'd like to introduce someone who I'm going to share my life with," Inouye, 83, told an audience of more than 100 people at Ryan's Grill at Ward Centre. "She's a good Democrat. She supports Hillary Clinton. In other words, we are compatible."
The audience erupted in applause. Many were curious of Inouye's soon-to-be bride when the couple first walked in -- some were even more anxious to see her than Clinton.
"I think she's a great person," former Gov. John Waihee said of Hirano. "I was so happy for him when I found out. When Maggie (Inouye's first wife of nearly 57 years) died, I think he went through a very down time. It's good to see him up and about and very buoyant."
After giving a short speech about her mother, Chelsea Clinton congratulated Inouye and Hirano and took a photo with the couple, promising them she would show it to her parents.
Hirano, 59, who is president and chief executive office of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, said she was looking forward to her first public appearance in Hawaii and is anticipating spending more time here.
"The response has been very overwhelming," Hirano said. "My work has always involved a lot of travel. We're trying to coordinate our travel and to spend as much time together."
Hirano said she will be staying in Los Angeles until June 2009, when she can then spend more time in Hawaii and with Inouye. The two announced their engagement Jan. 29 and plan to wed in a small private church ceremony on May 24.