* Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1994-2014
* Was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014
* Joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus in 2015
* Died on July 20, 2016
Mark Takai was born on July 1, 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned a BA in Political Science in 1990 and a Masters in Public Health in 1993. Takai became a First Lieutenant in the Hawaii Army National Guard in 1999 and was promoted to the position of Lieutenant Colonel in 2013. Over the years, he has worked variously as a publications coordinator at the University of Hawaii, a public health educator for the Department of Health, a deputy state surgeon in the Hawaii Army National Guard, and the owner of Pacific First Health Solutions, a healthcare-related company. Takai became active politically in 1994, when he launched a 20-year stint as a Democratic member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. In November 2014, the voters of Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District elected Takai to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he promptly joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Takai was one of several House Democrats who, in advance of Pope Francis‘s highly anticipated visit to the U.S. in September 2015, appeared in a series of short videos asking the pontiff to publicly promote the Democrats’ positions on issues like immigration reform, anti-poverty initiatives, and climate change. Takai, for his part, appeared in the climate-change production wherein Rep. Jan Schakowsky lamented that anthropogenic global warming “especially hurts lower income communities and the most vulnerable among us.”
On September 11, 2015, Takai announced his decision to support the highly controversial international agreement that the so-called “P5+1” nations (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China) had recently signed with Iran in an effort to slow down that nation’s nuclear-weapons program. Takai characterized the deal as “a consensus” that, “despite flaws,” represented “the best way to prevent a nuclear Iran.” While the agreement placed some temporary restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, it virtually guaranteed that the Iranians would be able to develop nuclear weapons within a decade or so.
Asserting that “it is time we take action now to protect our aina [earth in the Hawaiian language] for the future of our keiki [children in the Hawaiian language]” by “increasing our use of renewable energy sources, cutting emissions, and implementing greater sustainability practices,” Takai in December 2015 applauded the “historical” Climate Agreement that negotiators from 180+ countries had recently negotiated in Paris. In that accord, the signatories submitted voluntary plans to mitigate their respective nations’ carbon emissions and laid the groundwork for an international carbon cap-and-trade marketplace where those emissions could be taxed. As journalist Joseph Klein explained, “[The deal] is based on the redistributionist notion of ‘climate justice’ or ‘equity,’ which casts the developed countries as the source of the problem of alleged man-made climate change, and the developing countries as the innocent victims…. [I]t is the developed countries that must bear the real … responsibility to substantially cut their own emissions on an accelerated timetable. And it is the developed countries who are legally bound to pay for whatever voluntary steps the developing countries decide to take to reduce their emissions over time …”
Takai’s most significant political positions were shaped by his belief that:
For an overview of Takai’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
For additional information on Takai, click here.
Takai died of pancreatic cancer on July 20, 2016.
Further Reading: “Mark Takai” (Balletpedia.org and Votesmart.org); “House Dems Call on Pope Francis to Promote Immigration Reform” (Breitbart.com, 9-22-2015); “Takai Supports the Iran Nuclear Agreement” (by Mark Takai, Votesmart.org, 9-11-2015); “Takai Applauds Paris Climate Accords” (by Mark Takai, Votesmart.org, 12-14-2015); “The Massive Climate Change Agreement Giveaway” (by Joseph Klein, FrontPageMag.com, 12-14-2015); Mark Takai’s “VoteMatch Responses” (OnTheIssues.org, see chart at bottom of page).