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Country Mourns Death of US Rep. Mark Takai

July 20, 2016, 10:36 AM HST
* Updated July 20, 4:10 PM
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Mark Takai. House of Representatives photo.

Mark Takai. House of Representatives photo.

US Rep. Mark Takai has died.

In May of this year, he had announced that he would not seek a second term in Congress due to health problems.

Takai, who represents Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year.

Gov. David Ige commented on Takai’s passing:

“Today, the people of Hawai‘i mourn the passing of US Rep. Mark Takai:

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“He proudly served his country in uniform, including 17 years with the Hawai‘i Army National Guard. Mark humbly and effectively served the people of his state House and Congressional districts. In the often tumultuous world of politics, he has been a shining example of what it means to be a public servant.

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“While we will deeply feel the loss of Mark Takai in the public arena, we cannot forget that he was a family man first. His wife, children and extended family will miss him every moment from this day on.

“Dawn and I extend our deepest sympathies to Sami, Matthew and Kaila. Your husband and father was a man of principle and goodwill. Thank you for sharing him with the citizens of Hawai‘i.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement:

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“I’m deeply saddened today as we mourn the passing of my friend, colleague and fellow soldier, Congressman Mark Takai. I’m grateful to have known and worked with Mark for over a decade. With a servant’s heart, full of aloha, he dedicated his life to serving the people of Hawaiʻi and our nation, in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard, and in Congress.

“I had the good fortune of serving with Mark in all three of these capacities, and saw firsthand that no matter where he was, he always kept his service to Hawaiʻi’s people at the forefront of his actions.  Mark’s smiling face and ready laugh will truly be missed, but the impact that he made through his life of service to the people of Hawaiʻi will always be remembered. My heart and prayers are with Sami, Matthew, Kaila, and all of Mark’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui issued this statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that I send my sincere condolences to the family of Congressman Mark Takai. Mark was an admirable public servant and a champion on issues important to his district and the people of Hawai‘i.

“As a fellow University of Hawai‘i alumnus, I appreciated his strong advocacy and support for the university, especially the athletics program that played such a prominent role in his life. I’ve had the privilege of working with Mark at the Legislature and am honored to have been able to call him a friend.

“During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sami and their two children. He will be dearly missed.”

US Sen. Brian Schatz issued the following statement:

“This is the deepest of losses and one that I feel very personally because of my friendship with Mark. Throughout his life, he was all about serving the people of Hawai‘i. He gave so much, and had so much more yet to give. My condolences to his wife Sami, his children, his parents, and his whole ‘ohana, whose pride and support meant everything to Mark. This is a sad day for all of Hawai‘i.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono released the following statement:

“Mark Takai was a devoted public servant who was committed to bettering our state and country in public office for more than two decades. He also gave back to his community as a celebrated champion collegiate swimmer, a lieutenant colonel in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and a devoted family man.

“I affectionately called Mark my younger brother. We shared so many of the same values and supported each other during challenging times. Mark’s passing is a tremendous loss for all of us who loved him and for the state of Hawai‘i. But he said it best: ‘as often happens, we find ourselves on a different journey than we had planned.’ While we find that our journey is not as bright without Mark, we will continue his work to make Hawai‘i a better place.

“My thoughts and aloha go to his wife Sami, his children Matthew and Kaila, and the Takai ‘ohana.”

DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn that Congressman Mark Takai has passed. He was a true friend of public education and he will be greatly missed.

“Throughout his time in elected office in state and federal government, he was a staunch advocate for Hawai‘i’s public schools. Congressman Takai advocated tirelessly for funding and resources to help the department’s efforts in providing quality education for all children.

Mark was also a proud public school graduate of Pearl City High. He was a role model and remains an example of leadership and service to communities.

On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, I extend my heartfelt condolences and aloha to the Takai family during this difficult time.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald released the following statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the passing of US Rep. Mark Takai.

“He was a true public servant in every sense of the word—from serving our country in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard, representing Aiea/Pearl City in the state legislature for 20 years, and carrying the aloha spirit to the US House of Representatives.

Rep. Takai was also a strong supporter of the Hawai‘i State Judiciary’s Veterans Treatment Court and its outreach efforts. He went out of his way to consistently recognize and encourage the participants, team members, and mentors involved in this program.

We thank him for his service and commitment to the people of Hawai‘i and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Hawai‘i State Senate statement:

“Our hearts our heavy today as we mourn the passing of US Rep. K. Mark Takai.

“Through his service in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard, as a state representative and as a member of the US House of Representatives, Congressman Takai embodied selflessness, honor and duty—the best of what it means to be a public servant. Congressman Takai served the constituents in his district and the state with integrity and demonstrated the tenants of aloha as a son of Hawai‘i.

“During this difficult time, we send our deepest sympathy and aloha paumākō to the Takai family.”
Statement on the Passing of U.S. Representative K. Mark Takai

Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele:

“I am deeply saddened by the news of US Rep. K. Mark Takai’s death. He served our state and our country honorably as a public servant, elected official, and a lieutenant colonel in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard.

“He was known on Capitol Hill for his aloha spirit and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Hawai‘i families. Rep. Takai lived the Spirit of Aloha.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Rep. Takai’s family, especially Sami, Matthew and Kaila, in their time of grief.”

Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Chair Tim Vandeveer:

“The Democratic Party of Hawai‘i is deeply saddened by today’s passing of Congressman K. Mark Takai. Congressman Takai’s honorable service to our state and country as an officer in the Hawai‘i National Guard, 20-year member of Hawai‘i’s State House of Representatives, and US Congressman will leave an enduring legacy. Mark will forever be a member of Hawaii’s Democratic ‘ohana and we send our aloha and support to the Takai family, friends and supporters during this difficult time.”

Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann:

“The members of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association are very saddened over the untimely passing of Congressman Mark Takai and join in extending our condolences to Sami and the Takai ‘ohana.

“We’ve lost not only a dedicated public servant but a friend to the hospitality industry. Since his election, Mark has been a strong voice for tourism in Washington. He was always open to our concerns and ideas, and was devoted to strengthening the industry. He championed legislation to restore draconian cuts to travel per diem rates in the Department of Defense budget and had a history of advocating for military affiliated meetings and conventions to be held in Hawaii. He met with our HLTA leadership just a few months ago and we were heartened to know at the time that his commitment to doing his very best for Hawai‘i was undiminished by his illness.

“On a personal note, I knew Mark since he was president of the University of Hawaii’s student government and worked closely with him over the years as a city council member, mayor and in other endeavors. He was always enthusiastic, energetic and full of ideas. In fact, he suggested to me to start the Mayor’s Remembrance Walk, the annual observance of the September 11 attacks in Honolulu.

“Our families were close and we shared many precious moments together. Mark will be missed as a representative of the islands, an advocate for our people, a leader and a dear friend.”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton:

“The loss of Congressman Mark Takai will be felt keenly from Washington to Honolulu. Mark was everything a public servant should be. He spent his entire life in service of his state and his country—from the Hawai‘i Army National Guard to the Hawai‘i State House to the House of Representatives—fighting to make sure veterans and their families are supported, supporting ambitious steps to protect his state and our planet from the perils of climate change, and championing the rights of Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian communities.

“I am grateful to Mark for his friendship and deeply honored to have earned his support. My thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family and friends, and especially with his wife Sami and his children Matthew and Kaila.”

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