20 Dec 2012

Hawaii will lose clout with loss of two long serving senators

7:23 pm on 20 December 2012

A spokesperson for Hawaii's East-West Centre says the state is in a challenging position as it looks to replace its two long serving senators in Washington.

The Director of External Affairs, Karen Knudsen, says this week's death of Senator Daniel Inouye who represented Hawaii for 50 years, combined with the retirement of Senator Daniel Akaka, is a real loss of political seniority.

She says she doesn't think Hawaii will be left out in the cold but it's unlikely to enjoy the same opportunities it had under the two senators.

"I do think that the country will not forsake Hawaii completely. However, we will not enjoy the same amount of federal funding, federal programmes, coming into the State as we have in the past with Senator Inouye and his position."

Karen Knudsen says Hawaii will now be represented by two women, Mazie Hirono and the vacancy left by Mr Inouye's death is due to be filled in the next few days, possibly by Colleen Hanabusa.