Political leaders issue statements on Rep. Takai's decision not to run for re-election

Published: May. 19, 2016 at 4:44 PM HST|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 9:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's elected leaders expressed their support for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday, after he announced he would not seek re-election because of his health.

Here are their statements:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz

"It has been my honor and a true pleasure to work alongside Mark over the years. He is a great teammate and has served the people of Hawaii with integrity and aloha. I know this was a difficult decision, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono

"Mark has served our state and our country honorably as a public servant, elected official, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard. He has an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Hawaii families.

"I have worked closely with Mark for many years on education reform, and especially on Impact Aid for Hawaii's schools when I served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I will miss him in this arena as a strong partner on issues we both care deeply about, and will continue to do so through the rest of his term.

"I have affectionately called Mark my younger brother for many years and I wish Mark and his family all the best."

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

"Mark is a dear friend and colleague, and my prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time. We've served together over the years in many capacities — as colleagues in the Hawaii State House, as Soldiers in the Hawaii Army National Guard, and now in Congress.

Mark has a servant's heart and has dedicated his life to working for the people of Hawaii.  Now we can show our thanks to him and his family for their service by supporting them and their decision in every way possible. I look forward to continuing to work with Mark in Congress for the remainder of his term, ensuring that our constituents in Hawaii are served and heard."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chairwoman

"My heart is in Hawaii tonight with my colleague and friend, Rep. Mark Takai and his family, as he continues his ongoing battle with cancer. Mark's career, marked by bravery in our armed forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and distinguished service in both the Hawaii legislature and U.S. House of Representatives, is entering a new phase, as he makes the decision not to seek re-election.

As a breast cancer survivor, I know that this battle can be difficult – but Mark's strength, and the enduring love and support of his wife Sami, his family and friends, and the people of Hawaii, will lift him in this battle. It has been a privilege to get to know him and to serve with him."

Gov. David Ige

"For many years Mark has wholeheartedly served the people of Hawai'i, and our communities are better off because of his tireless efforts. I thank him for his military service to our nation, his skilled representation of his constituents in Congress, and his advocacy on behalf of Aiea/Pearl City residents at the State Legislature. He has been a valued colleague and generous friend to me, and I wish him well as he focuses on his health and family."

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui

"My heartfelt thoughts are with Congressman Mark Takai as he continues his courageous battle with cancer and I wish him a full, healthy recovery. Although I'm sorry to hear that Mark will not be seeking another term of office, I understand first and foremost that his health and well-being are his top priority.

During his time in the nation's capital, Mark ensured that Hawaii's voice was heard on issues important to our State, particularly on issues regarding our veterans, kupuna and immigration. As his friend and former colleague at the Legislature, I've witnessed Mark's dedication and commitment to his district and the people of Hawaii.

As he continues to work hard and make strides in Washington, D.C., I extend my best wishes and aloha to him and his ohana. I'd also like to send him my sincerest mahalo for the sacrifices he's made and for his service to the people of Hawaii."

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell:

Speaker of the House Joe Souki

"I first met Mark when he was the student body president of UH Manoa.  I was the Chairman of the House Finance Committee and he came in all the time to lobby for a new basketball arena.  He was very persistent and very competitive.  When he came to the Legislature he brought that same kind of persistence and competitive spirit and for 20 years worked tirelessly for his constituents and the people of Hawaii.  I was very proud when he was elected to Congress.

Hawaii will miss his service in Washington D.C. as he focuses on his health and family.

I know Mark is a fighter, and, God willing, he will win."

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