Brian Schatz was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on 20 October 1972 to a Jewish family, and his family moved to Hawaii when he was two. He studied at Pomona College in California before becoming a volunteer in Kenya and a teacher back in Hawaii. Schatz became CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii and director of the Makiki Community Library and of the Center for a Sustainable Future, and he was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1998 as a Democratic Party member. He served in the House until 2006, and he was elected Chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Party in 2008, serving for one-and-a-half years in that position. In December 2010, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, and he was chosen to replace Senator Daniel Inouye in the US Senate when Inouye suddenly died. He was re-elected in 2016.