Late lawmaker with a troubled past remembered for his kindness and compassion

Updated: Jun. 16, 2019 at 9:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flags in Hawaii flew at half-staff Saturday in honor of former lawmaker Rod Tam, who was remembered as a troubled figure with a big heart.

Tam died last month at the age of 65 due to complications from leukemia.

At a celebration of life service Saturday, hundreds came together to honor a man who spent three decades in public service, serving in the state House, Senate and City Council.

His legacy was tarnished by a series of scandals, including for misusing campaign funds and city dollars.

Those who love him, though, say that’s not what he should be remembered for.

His longtime aide and friend Shawn Hamamoto said Tam was the kind of person who would give out his cell phone number to just about anyone. He had a passion for those he served and cared about this community.

“He was a man who really accomplished a lot based on pure willpower," Hamamoto said.

“From the day I met him, he had that will to serve the community, to work long hours. Working for Rod, there was no such thing as 9 to 5. Lots of nights and weekends.”

Tam is survived by his wife Lynette, their two children, as well as his father, brother and sister.

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