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U.S. Senate joins praise of statehood


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POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A resolution honoring Hawaii's 50th statehood anniversary was unanimously approved yesterday by members of the U.S. Senate.

The measure followed a similar resolution, introduced by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, passed Monday by the House.

In his remarks on the floor regarding Senate Resolution 225, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye described the state as a “;rich cultural addition to the United States”; with a multiracial society and natural beauty that draws millions of visitors annually.

Inouye noted how Hawaii produced the first Asian-American to serve in Congress, Hiram Fong. Also from Hawaii, the resolution says, was the first woman of color elected to Congress, Patsy Mink.

Inouye also noted that Barack Obama, the first African-American to serve as U.S. president, “;was born and raised in downtown Honolulu.”;

Sen. Daniel Akaka recalled how the bells at Kawaiaha'o Church rang in celebration when Hawaii became the 50th state. With the anniversary coming on Aug. 21, Akaka also commented on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, the so-called Akaka Bill, which was reintroduced to Congress earlier this year.

“;We must remember that the privileges of statehood come with obligations,”; Akaka said on the Senate floor. “;Hawaii and the United States have a sacred trust relationship with the indigenous people of Hawaii that still remains to be fulfilled.

“;In admitting Hawaii as the 50th state, Congress and the people of Hawaii have recognized the importance of addressing the needs of native Hawaiians and preservation of their culture and traditions.”;