Maui County politicians, residents and community leaders said longtime Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye was a "tremendous asset" for the state and helped drive economic and scientific ventures on the Valley Isle.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said Inouye had the foresight to help establish the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, as well as to back the scientific ventures atop Haleakala and to assist the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
"He's just been tremendous for us," Arakawa said shortly after learning the senator had died around noon Hawaii time in Maryland.
"Senator Inouye has been probably the most tremendous asset any state would hope to have. For Hawaii, he has been the protector, the provider and even the one who has represented virtually every economy segment of our community," Arakawa said.
Former Maui mayor and former territorial legislator, Elmer Cravalho, remembered the young Inouye as he got his first taste of politics.
The two men served in the territorial Legislature in 1954. Cravalho said both were part of a Democratic Party sweep of the Legislature that year.
"He had everything that would speak for success," Cravalho recalls.
He added that Inouye was respectful, was a good member of the Democratic Party and was elected as majority leader that year.
"On a personal basis, he will be sorely missed. On an official basis, Hawaii will not receive the same level of follow through that the senior senator always paid attention to," he said.
For more local reaction, see Tuesday's edition of The Maui News.