Takai gives up Hawaii House seat for U.S. House seat

By Yunji de Nies
Published On: Jul 18 2014 09:33:44 PM HST

KITV4's Yunji de Nies takes a closer look at democratic Congressional candidate Mark Takai.

HONOLULU -

For Mark Takai, campaigning for Congress is a family affair.

Click here to watch Yunji de Nies's report.

"My wife and two kids, Matthew and Kaila, are very much part of my team," said Takai.  "I mean, I wouldn't have done it without their support.  And we talked through this, and I think as young kids they're very concerned about what happens to dad."

And this dad says his concern about what happens to them is a big part of why he's on the ballot.  Takai has represented Aiea for the last two decades, and is one of only two Democrats in the field of seven who has to give up his seat to run in this election.

"With two school-aged children, both attending public school in Aiea, and many children out there in Hawaii, I felt it was very important for an advocate for them in serving Congress," said Takai.

The 1985 Pearl City High School graduate was an all-American swimmer who went on to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to swim on the varsity team.

"I bleed green and black," said Takai.

He and his wife own an insurance brokerage.  As a lieutenant colonel with the Hawaii National Guard, he was deployed to the Middle East and is the only Democrat running with a military background.

"We've had some significant challenges as it relates to defense spending with the sequestration budget cuts, but also with veterans services and veterans affairs and we've had the lowest number of veterans since 1940 and I do believe it's a reflection of the amount of veterans currently serving," said Takai.

For him, one issue is sustainability.

"Hawaii being the most isolated land mass in the entire world, it's gonna be very important for us to be more sustainable," said Takai.  "Weaning ourselves off the addiction of fossil fuel and growing more of our own food.  The more we can do that, the better off we'll be as a community."

And you might be surprised to learn that his own love of the land is what he relies on to unwind.

"When I was a young kid, we used to grow our own vegetables.  I grow some of our own food, but I just enjoy going out there and getting some peace time in the yard," said Takai.

Takai is one of seven Democrats running for the First Congressional District seat up for grabs and he'll be part of the KITV debate this Wednesday at 8  p.m.

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