Mark Takai

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Mark Takai
Mark Takai, official portrait, 114th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2015 – July 20, 2016
Preceded byColleen Hanabusa
Succeeded byColleen Hanabusa
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 33rd district
In office
Preceded byBlake Oshiro
Succeeded bySam Kong
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 34th district
In office
Preceded byDavid Ige
Succeeded byGregg Takayama
Personal details
Kyle Mark Takai

(1967-07-01)July 1, 1967
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
DiedJuly 20, 2016(2016-07-20) (aged 49)
Aiea, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting placeNational Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sami Takai
EducationUniversity of Hawaii, Manoa (BA, MPH)
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1999–2016
RankLieutenant Colonel
UnitHawaii Army National Guard
Charlie Company (Medical), 29th Brigade Support Battalion
Battles/warsOperation Iraqi Freedom
AwardsMeritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal
Hawaii DSO.JPG Hawaii Distinguished Service Order

Kyle Mark Takai[1] (July 1, 1967 – July 20, 2016) was an American politician from the state of Hawaii who served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Hawaii's 1st congressional district, from 2015 to 2016. He previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1994 to 2014.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Takai last served in the Hawaii Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel and took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009, concurrent to his political career. He became the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2014 elections, defeating former Congressman Charles Djou to win the seat.

Takai announced in May 2016 that he would not seek re-election due to ill health; he died from cancer two months later.

Early life and education[edit]

Takai was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received his diploma from Pearl City High School in 1985,[2] where he was a four-time high school swimming champion and a high school All-American swimmer.[3] Takai received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.[4] While at the university, Takai was a Western Athletic Conference champion swimmer, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, and editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper.[3]

Political career[edit]

Takai was first elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1994, representing the 34th house district of Pearl City, near Pearl Harbor. He won re-election eight more times before shifting to represent the 33rd house district of Aiea in 2012. Takai was Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and the Arts between 1997 and 2000. He also served as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education (1995–2002) and as Chairman in 2003–2004. Additionally, he was the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts.[when?] During the 2005 and 2006 sessions, Takai served as Vice Speaker of the House.[5]

Takai left his 20-year tenure as a state representative to become the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives for Hawaii's 1st congressional district in the 2014 elections, following incumbent Colleen Hanabusa's decision to run for the United States Senate.[6] He won the election with 51.2% of the vote, defeating Republican former Congressman Charles Djou.[7] In November 2015, he introduced the Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, extending federal compensation to those made sick by involvement in cleanup operations after bomb tests on Pacific islands.[8]

Committee assignments[edit]

Military service[edit]

Takai was commissioned as first lieutenant in the Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG) on July 19, 1999, and worked as the Preventive Medical Officer. He was the Division Chief for Soldiers Services and a School Liaison for the HIARNG. He later became a lieutenant colonel on May 14, 2013. Additionally, Takai served as the President of the Hawaii National Guard Association and the President of the National Guard Association-Hawaii Insurance, Inc.[10]

Takai was called to active duty for six months (May to November 2005) and served as the Hawaii Army National Guard Deputy State Surgeon. He later served as the Company Commander of Charlie Company (Medical), 29th Brigade Support Battalion from November 2006 to May 2008. Takai was posted abroad during Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Base Operations Officer (Camp Mayor) at Camp Patriot, Kuwait, from February 2009 to September 2009.[5]

Among his numerous awards and decorations, Takai received the Meritorious Service Medal from the United States Army in 2009,[11] the Distinguished Service Medal from the National Guard Association of the United States in 2011, and the Hawaii Distinguished Service Order in 2012.[10]

Illness and death[edit]

Takai was diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas in late October 2015.[12] On May 19, 2016, he announced that he would not seek reelection because his cancer had spread, but vowed to serve the remaining eight months of his term.[13][14] He died two months later at his home in Aiea. He was 49.[15] He is survived by his wife, Sami, and their two children.[1][16]

In 2018, he was posthumously inducted into the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Langer, Emily (July 20, 2016). "Mark Takai, Hawaii Democrat serving first term in Congress, dies at 49". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "HSTA and NEA Give Takai Huge End-of-Year Boost with Endorsement". Hawaii Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "A Swim Star Turns UH Watchdog". MidWeek. June 13, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Takai, K. Mark (March 25, 2007). "Editorial: University View; Let's Give UH a Second Century of Promise". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Legislative Members". Hawaii State Legislature. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  6. ^ "State Rep. Mark Takai launches congressional bid". Hawaii News Now. August 7, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "2014 Certified Election Results". Hawaii Office of Elections. State of Hawaii. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  8. ^ LaFleur, Jennifer (July 17, 2016). "Atomic veterans battle against illnesses and for recognition". Oregon Live. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Siegel, Benjamin (July 20, 2016). "Freshman Hawaii Rep. Mark Takai Dies After Battle With Cancer". ABC News. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "State Rep. K. Mark Takai Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel". Hawaii Reporter. June 18, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  11. ^ Nabarro, Moanike'ala (July 20, 2016). "Congressman Mark Takai dies after battle with pancreatic cancer". KITV. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  12. ^ Blair, Chad (October 27, 2015). "Takai Has Small Tumor In Pancreas". Hawaii Civil Beat. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  13. ^ Pathé, Simone (May 19, 2016). "Hawaii's Mark Takai Will Not Seek Re-Election". Roll Call. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Wang, Frances Kai-Hwa (May 20, 2016). "Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai to Retire to Focus on Cancer Battle". NBC News. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Blair, Chad (July 20, 2016). "US Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii Dies". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  16. ^ "Mark Takai, First-Term Congressman From Hawaii, Dies at 49". The New York Times. July 20, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Gerber, Sammie (July 14, 2018). "Late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai to be inducted into Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 25, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Colleen Hanabusa
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Colleen Hanabusa