Brian Schatz

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Updated: May 2017

Brian Schatz is one of two Democratic U.S. senators representing Hawaii. He was selected to fill the seat that belonged to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and elected in his own right in 2014 and re-elected in 2016.

Before becoming a senator, Schatz was elected Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 2010.

He previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives and is a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

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The Basics

Brian Schatz is one of two Democratic U.S. senators representing Hawaii. He was selected to fill the seat that belonged to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and elected in his own right in 2014 and re-elected in 2016.

Before becoming a senator, Schatz was elected Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 2010.

He previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives and is a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

Schatz is married to Linda Schatz. They have two children.

Early Life/Career

Schatz was born on Oct. 20, 1972, in Michigan and moved to Hawaii when he was 2 years old. Schatz was raised in Hawaii and attended Punahou School. After high school, Schatz went to Pomona College in California and received a degree in philosophy.

He returned to Hawaii after college and worked for a nonprofit organization. In 1998, Schatz was elected to represent Hawaii’s 25th Legislative District: Makiki, McCully and Tantalus.

During his time in the House, Schatz chaired the Economic Development Committee and was appointed majority whip.

In 2006, Schatz ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary to serve Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. Leaving the House, Schatz served as the chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii from May 2008 to 2010.

Schatz also chaired the Hawaii Draft Obama Campaign and was instrumental for the president’s successful 2008 campaign in Hawaii.

The Path To The U.S. Senate

Schatz was elected as Hawaii lieutenant governor in 2010, running with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

In his two years as Abercrombie’s second-in-command, Schatz led efforts to secure public and private funding for state initiatives and became the administration’s point man on energy issues, dubbed Hawaii’s “ambassador of energy.”

Schatz was appointed on Dec. 26, 2012, by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace the late Sen. Dan Inouye in the U.S. Senate. Abercrombie chose Schatz over Inouye’s hand-picked successor, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, saying that the appointment of the then-40-year-old lieutenant governor was “in the best interest of the state of Hawaii and the nation.”

Hanabusa challenged Schatz for the seat in the 2014 primary election. But Schatz defeated Hanabusa by just 1,782 votes, after a delayed vote count as the state allowed voters in the Big Island’s Puna District to cast belated ballots because their polling places had been closed on Election Day due to a tropical storm.

Schatz went on to handily defeat Republican Cam Cavasso in the Nov. 4, 2014, general election.

Schatz was re-elected in a landslide in 2016 to serve a full six-year term. His profile on the national scene is rising, particularly concerning the issues of renewable energy, global warming and internet neutrality.

Now Hawaii’s senior senator, having been sworn in just days before fellow Democrat Mazie Hirono, Schatz has focused on global warming, renewable energy, college affordability, entitlement programs, veterans issues and Native Hawaiians.

He is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and also serves on the committees for Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Indian Affairs.

He also serves in a leadership position as Chief Deputy Whip.

 

Brian Schatz
Chad Blair: Schatz On Wrong Side Of Vote To Debate Endless War Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chad Blair: Schatz On Wrong Side Of Vote To Debate Endless War

The Hawaii senator opposed legislation that could have led to halting military force not specifically authorized by Congress.

Sen. Brian Schatz: Trump Is ‘Not My President’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Sen. Brian Schatz: Trump Is ‘Not My President’

The Hawaii Democrat tweeted, “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment.”

Hirono’s Up For Re-Election Next Year But Schatz Has Twice The Cash U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono

Hirono’s Up For Re-Election Next Year But Schatz Has Twice The Cash

Campaign finance reports show Hawaii’s U.S. senators have far different totals on hand, but Hirono did raise $400,000 from April to June.

Hawaii Leaders Say State Is Under ‘Attack’ With Loss Of Federal Funds Civil Beat

Hawaii Leaders Say State Is Under ‘Attack’ With Loss Of Federal Funds

The proposed reauthorization of a housing bill leaves out annual funding of up to $13 million for Native Hawaiians.

Brian Schatz: ‘Invigorating To See People So Engaged’ In Resisting Trump Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Brian Schatz: ‘Invigorating To See People So Engaged’ In Resisting Trump

The Hawaii senator perceives a whole new political landscape in the islands, with constituents following “every twist and turn.”

‘Hawaii Got Almost Everything We Sought’ In Federal Budget Cory Lum/Civil Beat

‘Hawaii Got Almost Everything We Sought’ In Federal Budget

Despite dismal expectations, the plan preserves spending levels for the Coast Guard, East-West Center and Native Hawaiian services while boosting defense spending.

Hirono Has $1 Million On Hand For Likely Senate Re-election Bid John Hook/Civil Beat

Hirono Has $1 Million On Hand For Likely Senate Re-election Bid

Sen. Brian Schatz, whose term is not up until 2022, has $2.2 million in campaign cash, according to Federal Election Commission records.

New Federal Law Enhances Tsunami Detection Measures Chad Blair/Civil Beat

New Federal Law Enhances Tsunami Detection Measures

Sweeping weather legislation sponsored by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is signed into law by President Trump.

Schatz Optimistic About Resistance To Trump Agenda In DC Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Schatz Optimistic About Resistance To Trump Agenda In DC

The senator’s Honolulu town hall drew about 400 people, signaling what he said was growing political activism since Trump’s election.

No New Housing For Hawaiians Despite Millions In The Bank Cory Lum/Civil Beat

No New Housing For Hawaiians Despite Millions In The Bank

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands comes under fire for not providing any new housing units last fiscal year.

Schatz To Oppose Tillerson, Sessions Nominations Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Schatz To Oppose Tillerson, Sessions Nominations

The Hawaii senator has already voted in favor of five Trump picks, including Ben Carson for HUD and Mike Pompeo for CIA.

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact

The state’s congressional delegation opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but the state Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns.