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Hawaii senator to call it quits

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Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Akaka said Wednesday he won't seek re-election next year, the fifth member of the Senate Democratic Caucus to decide not to face the voters in 2012.

"It was a very difficult decision for me," said Mr. Akaka in a prepared statement. "It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii."

The four-term senator, who stepped down as chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee in January after four years at the helm, said he will serve out the remainder of his Senate term, which expires in January 2013.

"In 2006, the people of Hawaii gave me an opportunity to continue my service in the United States Senate and I fully intend to serve the last two years of my term in office," he said.

He is the fourth Democrat to announce plans to step down at the end of 2012, joining a list that includes Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jim Webb of Virginia. The Democrats are also losing Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

Mr. Akaka has served in the Senate since May 1990. Before that, he served in the U.S. House for more than 13 years.

The 86-year-old lawmaker said he plans to return to Hawaii after his term to spend time his family, which includes his wife, Millie, and several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He said he also plans to spend time "documenting my life and career, and serving as a mentor to future political leaders."

"I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha, never forgetting my humble beginnings, and it is my hope that they, too, will continue this tradition," he said. "We must never forget that we, as political leaders, work for the people of Hawaii and not the special interests."

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