U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) has been formally appointed to Chair the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in the new 112th Congress. He was selected for the leadership post by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) will continue as Vice Chairman.
The committee will be made up of eight Democrats and six Republicans, mostly committee veterans on both sides. In addition to Senators Akaka and Barrasso, the committee members are: Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Al Franken (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Tom Udall (D-NM).
“Our native communities face problems that are serious, severe, and sometimes chronic,” said Chairman Akaka. “I intend to continue the long tradition of working together on this committee in a bipartisan manner to find solutions that will improve the lives and strengthen the futures of America’s native people. I look forward to working with Vice-Chairman Barrasso and all the committee members on these unique and complex issues.”
Senator Akaka is the first Native Hawaiian in the U.S. Senate, and now is the first to chair the Committee on Indian Affairs. He succeeds Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), who retired at the end of the 111th Congress.
– Source: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs