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Posted: Thursday, December 13th, 2012 9:09 AM HST

Akaka says aloha to US Senate after 22 years

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka is saying aloha to Washington.

Akaka delivered his farewell speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Akaka has been in Washington for 36 years, 14 of those in the House and the last 22 years in the Senate. He didn't seek re-election.

Akaka was the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the Senate, and said he was humbled to have left his mark on the institution.

He spoke of his work on veterans' issues, borne of experience. Akaka said the GI Bill helped him and others build a new life after World War II, and showed him that when Congress acts responsibly, it can build a better America.

Akaka also said it was long-overdue for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition similar to American Indian tribes.

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