Defying 'Political Wisdom,' Akaka Carries On

Adrienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

WASHINGTON — Seventeen months to go.

Then, Sen. Daniel Akaka will give up his Senate seat in 2012, and Hawaii voters will send a newly-elected senator to the U.S. Capitol for the first time in more than two decades.

The 86-year-old says he isn't going to leave the Senate early, despite persistent questions to the contrary. One prominently placed opinion about Akaka's future came in a July 10 column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser by veteran political columnist Richard Borreca.

Borreca slammed Akaka, writing that there were "new concerns" from Washington about the senator's "ability to function at the age of 86." The headline was, "Political wisdom suggests Akaka should take early retirement."

The article piqued our interest because it appeared days after Civil Beat sat down with Akaka in his Washington office. Still fresh off the plane from Hawaii, we paid the senator's office an unannounced visit in the days leading up to the formal opening of Civil Beat's Washington bureau.

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