Big Changes in Store for Hawaii's Congressional Delegation

Adrienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

WASHINGTON — It's January again, the blank canvas of a new year stretched out before us. One thing is certain: 2012 will bring big changes for Hawaii's representation in Washington.

For starters, after more than 20 years in the U.S. Senate, Daniel Akaka will step down. He now has less than a year to try to pass legislation to secure federal recognition for Native Hawaiians that he's failed to move forward in a decade. The outcome of his final attempts could largely shape Akaka's legacy.

Akaka's departure — and the fact that Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono and Republican former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle are among those running to replace him — means there's a real chance that Hawaii will elect its first female U.S. senator.

Have feedback? Suggestions?