Brian Schatz Committee Assignments Wiki

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Brian Schatz
United States Senator
from Hawaii


Assumed office
December 26, 2012
Serving with Mazie Hirono
Preceded byDaniel Inouye
11th Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
In office
December 6, 2010 – December 26, 2012
GovernorNeil Abercrombie
Preceded byDuke Aiona
Succeeded byShan Tsutsui
Chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party
In office
May 2008 – January 2010
Preceded byJeani Withington
Succeeded byDante Carpenter
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 25th district
In office
November 3, 2002 – November 7, 2006
Preceded byKenneth Hiraki
Succeeded byDella Au Belatti
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 24th district
In office
November 3, 1998 – November 3, 2002
Preceded bySam Aiona
Succeeded byKirk Caldwell
Personal details
BornBrian Emanuel Schatz
(1972-10-20) October 20, 1972 (age 45)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Linda Kwok Kai Yun
EducationPomona College(BA)
WebsiteSenate website

Brian Emanuel Schatz (pronounced ; born October 20, 1972) is an American politician serving as the seniorUnited States Senator from Hawaii since 2012. Schatz was appointed by GovernorNeil Abercrombie to replace Senator Daniel Inouye after his death.

Schatz served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, where he represented the 25th Legislative District and was chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii from 2008 to 2010. He also worked as chief executive officer of Helping Hands Hawaii, an Oahu nonprofit social service agency, until he resigned to run for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii in the 2010 Hawaii gubernatorial election as the running mate of Neil Abercrombie.[1] He served as lieutenant governor until December 26, 2012, when Abercrombie appointed Schatz to serve out Daniel Inouye's U.S. Senate term until the 2014 special election.[2] Upon his swearing-in, Schatz was the youngest U.S. Senator in the 112th Congress. Schatz won the 2014 special election to complete the remainder of Inouye's Senate term, and was reelected in 2016 for a full six-year term.

Early life[edit]

Brian Schatz was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with an identical twin brother, Steve. He is the son of Barbara Jane (née Binder) and Irwin Jacob Schatz, a cardiologist and native of Saint Boniface, Manitoba. The family is Jewish.[3][4]

Schatz's father was notable as the first to publicly identify the injustice of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment in 1964, and remained an influential critic of the study through his life.[5][6]

When Schatz and his brother were two years old the family moved to Hawaii[7] where Schatz later graduated from Punahou School.[8][9] Schatz enrolled at Pomona College in Claremont, California; he spent a term studying in Kenya as part of the International Training Program.[10] After graduating with a B.A. in philosophy, he returned to Hawaii, where he taught at Punahou before taking other jobs in the nonprofit sector.

Early career[edit]

He became active in the community through his involvement in Youth for Environmental Services in the 1980s. He served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii and director of the Makiki Community Library and of the Center for a Sustainable Future. In March 2010, Schatz stepped down from Helping Hands to run for lieutenant governor.[11]

Hawaii House of Representatives (1998–2006)[edit]


In 1998, Schatz, a Democrat, challenged the incumbent State Representative of the 24th District of the Hawaii House of Representatives, Republican Sam Aiona, and won, 53%–47%.[12] In the 2000 rematch, he was re-elected, 57%–43%.[13]

In 2002, he ran in the newly redrawn 25th House district, and defeated Republican Bill Hols, 69%–31%.[14] In 2004, he defeated Republican Tracy Okubo 64%–36%.[15] The 25th district includes Makiki and Tantalus on Oahu.

Political career (2006–10)[edit]

2006 congressional election[edit]

Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Hawaii, 2006 § District 2

Schatz ran for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, vacated by Ed Case, who had decided to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Daniel Akaka. The Democratic primary featured 10 candidates, seven of whom served in the Hawaii Legislature. Mazie Hirono, the Lieutenant Governor, was the only one who had held statewide office and thus enjoyed the most name recognition. She also raised more money than any other candidate in the race, mostly because of the endorsement of EMILY's List,[16] and gave her campaign a personal loan of $100,000. Still, she won with just 22% of the vote, just 845 votes ahead of State Senator Colleen Hanabusa. State Representative Schatz ranked sixth with 7% of the vote, behind Hirono and four state senators.[17][18]

Support for Obama[edit]

Schatz, one of the earliest supporters of Barack Obamafor president, founded a group with other Hawaii Democrats in December 2006 to urge Obama to run. Schatz said, "For the last six years we've been governed by fear, fear of terrorists, fear of other countries, even fear of the other party...everyone is governing by fear and Barack Obama changes all of that. He wants to govern the United States by hope."[19] In 2008, Schatz worked as spokesman for Obama's campaign in Hawaii.[20]

State Chairman[edit]

In April 2008, he began running for the position of chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii,[21] and won the job at the state convention the following month. During his tenure, the Democrats increased the number of active party members and delivered Obama's best performance of any state in the country. Hawaii native Obama won the state with 73% of the vote when just 55% of the state voted for Democratic nominee John Kerry in United States presidential election in Hawaii, 2004. Schatz stepped down as party chairman on January 9, 2010.[22]

Lieutenant Governor (2010–12)[edit]

2010 election[edit]

See also: Hawaii lieutenant governor election, 2010

On January 10, 2010, Schatz announced his candidacy for the office of lieutenant governor.[23] Schatz's campaign priorities included the creation of clean-energy jobs, public education, and technological improvements in the public sector. He also declared his support for Hawaii House Bill 444,[24] which would have allowed same-sex civil unions in Hawaii had it not been vetoed by term-limited Republican Governor Linda Lingle.[25] A number of Hawaii labor unions endorsed Schatz for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary election, held statewide on September 18, 2010.[26] Schatz won the nomination with 34.8 percent of the vote, and thus became Abercrombie's running mate in the November general election.


On December 6, 2010, Schatz was inaugurated as Hawaii's 11th lieutenant governor alongside Abercrombie, who had defeated incumbent Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona for the governor's seat. Hawaii Supreme Court Associate JusticeJames Duffy administered the oath of office at the Coronation Pavilion on the grounds of ʻIolani Palace.

U.S. Senate (2012–present)[edit]


Shortly before Sen. Daniel Inouye died on December 17, 2012,[27] Sen. Inouye dictated a letter to Governor Neil Abercrombie, asking that U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa be appointed to finish out his term.[28][29]

Hawaii law on interim appointments to the U.S. Senate requires the governor to choose from three candidates selected by the party of the previous officeholder. On December 26, 2012, the Hawaii Democratic Party nominated Schatz, Hanabusa, and Esther Kia'aina, the deputy director of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. The same day, Abercrombie named Schatz to the job, despite Inouye's request.[30] Later that night, Schatz accompanied President Barack Obama back to Washington, D.C. on Air Force One.[31] On December 27 Schatz was sworn in as a senator by Vice President Joe Biden.

Schatz's appointment to Inouye's seat on December 27, 2012, made him the senior senator from Hawaii (Mazie Hirono, who was elected that November to replace retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, took office just one week later on January 3, 2013). He is only the sixth person to represent Hawaii in the U.S. Senate, and the first non-Asian American to serve since Oren E. Long.

2014 election[edit]

See also: United States Senate special election in Hawaii, 2014

Schatz announced his intention to run for election in the special election to be held in 2014 for a two years term. In April 2013, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa announced she would oppose Schatz in the primary. The core of the Schatz campaign was climate change and renewable energy,[32] and fieldwork from the Super-PACClimate Hawks Vote has been credited with possibly putting Schatz over the top in a close Democratic primary.[33] Schatz defeated Hanabusa by 1,782 votes (0.75 percent)[34] in a primary delayed in two precincts by Hurricane Iselle.[35]

As expected in heavily Democratic Hawaii, Schatz went on to win the general election with about 70% of the vote.[36]

2016 election[edit]

See also: United States Senate election in Hawaii, 2016

in 2016, Schatz ran for and easily won his first full six-year senate term against only nominal opposition.[37]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Committee on Appropriations
  • Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
    • Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet (Ranking Member)
    • Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
    • Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
  • Select Committee on Ethics
  • Committee on Indian Affairs

Political positions[edit]

Gun law[edit]

As of 2010, the National Rifle Association has given Schatz a "C" rating for his mixed voting record regarding gun law.[38]

He participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster in 2016.[39] Schatz expressed disappointment, along with Mazie Hirono, when both the Democrat proposed Feinstein Amendment (making the sale of firearms to individuals on the terrorist watchlist illegal) and the Republican supported background check changes and gun sale alert system did not pass the Senate. He stated:[40]

More than 90% of Americans demand we take action on gun violence, but again Senate Republicans refuse to act. It’s unacceptable. Right now, known terrorists are banned from getting on an airplane, but they are still allowed to buy military-style weapons. It is absolutely insane. After one of the most horrific mass shootings in our history, we saw people across the country courageously stand up against gun violence and hatred. When will Republicans in Congress finally do the same?

In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting Schatz stated, "We can do more than lower the flag to half-mast. We can take a stand against gun violence by passing common-sense gun safety laws."[41]


Schatz supports same-sex marriage.[42] He sponsored legislation in 2015 to allow married gay couples to have equal access to the veterans benefits and Social Security they have earned.[43]

Privacy rights[edit]

In one of his first votes in the U.S. Senate, he voted against renewing the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012.[44] On April 17, 2013, he voted to expand background checks for gun purchases.[45]

Schatz voted for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill opposed by many civil liberties groups.[46][47]


In March 2014, Schatz was a lead organiser of an overnight talkathon devoted to discussing climate change. The gathering of over two dozen Senate Democrats took place on the Senate floor. The League of Conservation Voters supported the talkathon and ran campaign ads on Schatz's behalf.[48]


To encourage tourism in West Hawaii, Schatz proposed that customs begin in Japan so that planes can arrive in West Hawaii as domestic flights.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Schatz is married to Linda Kwok Kai Yun. They have two children. Brian's identical twin brother, Steve, runs the Hawaii Department of Education's Office of Strategic Reform.[50]

Electoral history[edit]

Hawai'i House of Representatives District 24 election, 1998
DemocraticBrian Schatz3,90453.1%
RepublicanSam Aiona (inc.)3,44646.9%
Hawai'i House of Representatives District 24 Democratic Primary election, 2000
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)2,77177.1%
DemocraticCasey Choi82422.9%
Hawai'i House of Representatives District 24 election, 2000
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)3,82556.7%
RepublicanSam Aiona2,91743.3%
Hawai'i House of Representatives District 25 election, 2002
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)4,89668.7%
RepublicanWilliam "Bill" Hols2,23331.3%
Hawai'i House of Representatives District 25 election, 2004
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)5,36763.8%
RepublicanTracy Okubo3,04836.2%
U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District in Hawai'i Democratic Primary election, 2006
DemocraticMazie Hirono24,48721.8%
DemocraticColleen Hanabusa23,64321.1%
DemocraticMatt Matsunaga16,00114.3%
DemocraticClayton Hee12,64911.3%
DemocraticGary Hooser10,7309.6%
DemocraticBrian Schatz8,2547.4%
DemocraticRon Menor8,0307.2%
DemocraticNestor Garcia4,4794.0%
DemocraticHanalei Aipoalani2,6882.4%
DemocraticJoe Zuiker1,1741.0%
Hawai'i Lieutenant Governor Democratic Primary election, 2010
DemocraticBrian Schatz83,47636.9%
DemocraticRobert "Bobby" Bunda45,98620.3%
DemocraticNorman Sakamoto44,48819.6%
DemocraticGary Hooser22,89010.1%
DemocraticLyla Berg20,1838.9%
DemocraticJon Riki Karamatsu6,7463.0%
DemocraticSteve Hirakami2,6951.2%

Schatz was elected in a separate primary but on a joint ticket in the general election with Neil Abercrombie, who was running for Governor.

U.S. Senate Democratic Primary election in Hawai'i, 2014
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)115,44549.3%
DemocraticColleen Hanabusa113,66348.6%
DemocraticBrian Evans4,8422.1%
U.S. Senate election in Hawai'i, 2014
DemocraticBrian Schatz (inc.)246,82769.8%
RepublicanCam Cavasso98,00627.7%
LibertarianMichael Kokoski8,9412.5%

See also[edit]


  1. ^DePledge, Derrick (November 2, 2010). "Abercrombie trumps Aiona to become Hawaii's next governor". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  2. ^"Schatz appointed to fill Sen. Inouye's seat". KITV. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  3. ^Irwin Schatz, M.D.
  4. ^KITV (December 27, 2012). "Schatz sworn in as Hawaii's 6th U.S. senator". Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  5. ^"Irwin Schatz, 83, Rare Critic of Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Is Dead". The New York Times. April 19, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2016. 
  6. ^Kery Murakami. "Hawaii Dr. Irwin Schatz' Stand Against Racism Resonates Decades Later - Civil Beat News". Civil Beat News. Retrieved October 28, 2015. 
  7. ^Arndt, Danielle (December 27, 2012). "Ann Arbor native Brian Schatz named U.S. senator for Hawaii". Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  8. ^"Brian Schatz". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  9. ^"Punahou School: Brian Schatz '90". December 6, 2010. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  10. ^"Brian Schatz '94 Appointed to U.S. Senate Representing Hawaii — Pomona College". December 26, 2012. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  11. ^Duane Shimogawa. "Schatz lending a hand full-time to politics"Hawaii News Now, May 16, 2010.
  12. ^"HI State House 24 Race — November 3, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  13. ^"HI State House 24 Race — Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  14. ^"HI State House 25 Race — November 5, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  15. ^"HI State House 25 Race — November 2, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  16. ^Carries Giddins. "Emily's list announces the endorsement of Mazie Hirono for Hawaii's 2nd congressional District", "Essential Elements.". Retrieved June 14, 2006.
  17. ^"HI District 2 – D Primary Race". Our Campaigns. September 23, 2006. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  18. ^Rachel Kapochunas. "Akaka Survives Challenge from Case in Hawaii Democratic PrimaryArchived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.", CQ politics. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  19. ^"Hawaii group launches Obama for president effort". December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  20. ^Who Is Brian Schatz, the New U.S. Senator From Hawaii?,, Dec. 27, 2012.
  21. ^"Brian Schatz running for chair of Hawaii Democratic Party". KPUA Hawaii News. April 14, 2008. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  22. ^"Schatz stepping down as Hawaii Democratic Party chair". Hawaii News Now. December 4, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  23. ^Brian Schatz Enters Race for Lieutenant GovernorArchived June 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., KHON2, January 1, 2010
  24. ^LG style Q and A with Brian Schatz by Rangar Carlson, Honolulu Weekly, June 30, 2010
  25. ^Lingle vetoes civil unions bill, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 6, 2010.
  26. ^2010 Elections website of Hawaii Office of Elections. Retrieved July 20, 2010,
  27. ^McFadden, Robert D. (17 December 2012). "Daniel Inouye, Hawaii's Quiet Voice of Conscience in Senate, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  28. ^DePledge, Derrick (17 December 2012). "Inouye wanted Hanabusa to succeed him in U.S. Senate". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  29. ^"Sen. Inouye's letter to Gov. Abercrombie". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  30. ^"Hawaii governor names Democrat, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, to succeed Inouye in US Senate". The Washington Post. Associated Press. December 26, 2012. 
  31. ^Slack, Donovan (December 26, 2012). "Schatz to join Obama on AF1 to Washington". Politico. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  32. ^"The First Debate: Sen. Brian Schatz Versus Rep. Colleen Hanabusa". Honolulu Civil Beat. Jul 2, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  33. ^Bagley, Katherine (Aug 20, 2014). "Q&A: How a SuperPAC on a Shoestring Is Taking on Congress' Climate Apathy". InsideClimate News. Brooklyn, New York. Retrieved Apr 5, 2015. 
  34. ^"Primary Election, Statewide, Final Summary"(PDF). State of Hawaii. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  35. ^"Senator Brian Schatz Wins Closely Fought Democratic Primary in Hawaii". New York Times. Aug 16, 2014. Retrieved Aug 20, 2014. 
  36. ^"Hawaii General Election 2014"(PDF). Hawaii Office of Elections. Nov 4, 2014. Retrieved Dec 18, 2014. 
  37. ^Prichard, James (November 8, 2016). "Schatz, Hanabusa, Gabbard handily win their congressional races - Pacific Business News". Pacific Business News. 
  38. ^"The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  39. ^Mathis-Lilley, Ben; Hannon, Elliot (15 June 2016). "Senate Democrats' Surprise Gun-Control Filibuster Ended at 2:11 a.m."Slate. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  40. ^Pignataro, Anthony (20 June 2016). "Hawaii Senators Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz react to gun control bill failures - Maui Time". Maui Time. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  41. ^Limon, Alexandria (3 October 2017). "Democrats criticized for talking gun control so soon after Vegas shooting". Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  42. ^Reyes, B.J. (August 17, 2013). "Congressional Delegation Pushes for Gay Marriage". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. PressReader. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  43. ^Dennis, Steven T. (March 27, 2015). "Same-Sex Marriage Benefits Endorsed on Senate Floor (Updated)". Roll Call. 
  44. ^"H.R. 5949: FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 (On Passage of the Bill)". December 28, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  45. ^"U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session". Legislation & Records. United States Senate. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  46. ^"U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". January 27, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015. 
  47. ^"Civil liberties groups mobilize against CISA — Will the Chrysler hack make automakers more open to security researchers?". POLITICO. Retrieved October 28, 2015. 
  48. ^O'Keefe, Ed (March 10, 2014). "What the Senate's all-nighter on climate change is really about". Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  49. ^Miller, Erin (October 12, 2014). "U.S. Senate candidates offer diverse choices". West Hawaii Today. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  50. ^"Off the News". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. July 23, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Schatz, his wife, Linda Kwok Kai Yun Schatz; incoming Hawaii First Lady Nancie Caraway; and Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie on Election Day 2010.

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