After returning home to Hawai`i from my first Middle East deployment, I had the opportunity to work on Senator Daniel Akaka’s re-election campaign. Although I didn’t know Senator Akaka very well, I had always held him in the highest regard. He is not only a veteran of World War II, he is also an ambassador of aloha who has spent his life working tirelessly for the people of Hawai`i.
After the campaign, I was very honored when Senator Akaka invited me to work with him in Washington as a legislative aide. I assisted him in the areas of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Energy Independence, and the Environment, all of which were of great interest and importance to me because of their potential impact on our islands.
During my time in Washington, Senator Akaka was chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. My military training and experience gave me a unique perspective that allowed me to assist the Senator in his many briefings with top brass from the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. I was able to share with Senator Akaka what other veterans and I had just recently experienced in the Middle East, as well as in the homecoming process, and provide the Senator specifics about what was working and what was not.
Under Senator Akaka's stewardship, much important legislation has been passed that has greatly improved the lives of veterans, service members, and their families. I am tremendously proud and honored to have been a part of the Senator's efforts on behalf of all American veterans.