(1972 - )
Brian Schatz is an American Jewish Senator (D-HI),
businessperson, and environmental activist.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 20, 1972 to a Jewish couple originally from Canada, Schatz
moved with his family to Hawaii at age two. He graduated from the Punahou
School, and earned his B.A. in philosophy from Pomona College in Claremont, California. During college, Schatz
studied in Kenya and participated
in the International Training Program, through which he developed skills
in public service.
In the 1980s, Schatz became involved in environmental
and youth services through Youth for Environmental Services; he later
directed the Makiki Community Library, and the Center for a Sustainable
Future. Schatz also served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii.
In 1998, Schatz ran on the Democrat ticket for the Hawaii House of Representatives
and defeated incumbent Sam Aiona. Since then, he has been re-elected
three times. While in the Hawaii House, he served on numerous committees, including as chairman of the
Economic Development and Business Committee. Other committes on which
he served include Agriculture, Comsumer Protection and Commerce, Economic
Development & Business; Higher Education; and two natural resources
In 2006, after serving four terms in Hawaii's House
of Representatives, Schatz ran for U.S.
Congress and lost in the Democratic Primary to Mazie Hirono, who
won the general election for his district's seat.
Schatz ran for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii in 2010 after stepping down from his role as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii.
He ran on the Democratic ticket with Neil Abercrombie as Governor, and
the pair won the Democratic primary election on September 18, 2010.
That December, Schatz was inaugurated as Hawaii's 11th lieutenant governor.
On December 17, 2012 incumbent Senator Daniel Inouye
(D-HI) died at age 88. Sen. Inouye
was a well-respected supporter of Israel in the Senate throughout his
decades-long career. The Hawaii Democratic Party said Governor Neil Abercrombie could appoint one of
three people to fill Inouye's seat and Schatz was among them. On December
26, Gov. Abercrombie appointed him to serve as Hawaii's senator and
Schatz resigned from Hawaii's Lieutenant Governorship to serve in the Senate.
Senator Schatz is married to Linda Kwok Kai Yun; the couple has one
son and one daughter.
Brian Schatz; "Who Is Brian Schatz, the New U.S. Senator From Hawaii?"
Atlantic, December 27, 2012. This article was written with the
research assistance of Eli Nirenberg from Munster, Indiana