The people of Hawaii are not the only Americans who will miss Danny Inouye. He was one of the few members of Congress who still behaved as statesmen with great civility.
Over decades of my frequent contacts with him as a reporter, he stayed the same as men and women like him departed and were replaced with the cats and dogs who now dominate Congress.
His one fault in my mind was his pride in being "Mr. Pork," a nickname he shared with his friend former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. No two men could otherwise be more different. While Stevens was snide, snobbish, frowning and untrustworthy in his statements, Inouye was the direct opposite, a pleasure to speak to, always cordial, polite and candid, regardless of whether you were a colleague, reporter, staffer, tourist or janitor.
I covered many issues of the time that fell within the purview of the Senate Commerce Committee, of which he was a senior member, eventually chairman. He always had time for reporters' questions, answered even the silliest ones politely and honestly. You could approach him in hallways and could summon him off the Senate floor if you needed a brief interview.
In the early 1990s, I began annual winter trips to dive and golf on Maui. Although he probably never remembered my name, I mentioned once I had just been to Maui and he would say to me after subsequent trips, "That looks like a Maui tan."
He made me feel like a friend.