Meet Mark Takai
Generations of Service
Mark’s great grandparents arrived in Hawaii with dreams of a better life. As laborers, they worked earnestly, becoming successful because of their core values of honesty and hard work.
These values have been handed down through the generations, leading Mark to carry on the Takai tradition of public service.
His father Erik was an electrical engineer, and his mother Naomi worked for the City and County of Honolulu. Mark’s father Erik was the President of the Aiea Jaycees in the 1970s. The Takai Family was named the Hawaii Jaycees Family of the Year in 1976. Mark recalls the many community projects that his father brought him to.
Both his parents have instilled in Mark and his three siblings the value of hard work and of giving back to the community. Mark’s youngest sister Nikki is a public school teacher at Pearl City High School.
“Our parents taught us to give back to our community.” –Mark
From an early age, Mark wanted to help others. His commitment to help the community began as a classroom representative in fourth grade at Waimalu Elementary School.
Mark graduated with high honors at Pearl City High School. While in high school, Mark was the school’s student president and editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper.
He was also a champion swimmer and was a two-time National High School All-American in the 100-yard breaststroke. Mark is also member of the Hawaii High School Athletic Hall of Honor.
At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Mark participated in co-curricular activities and served the students as the ASUH president and the Ka Leo O Hawaii editor-in-chief. He was also a varsity swimmer and was a WAC swimming champion.
He was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at 27 years old, where he continues to serve. As a local boy Mark understands the unique nature of our Aloha State and what it takes to represent Hawaii.
“Above all you must approach everything with the spirit of Aloha.” -Mark
Mark and His Family
Mark and his wife Sami are the proud parents of Matthew and Kaila, who both attend a public school in Aiea.
Mark met his wife Sami in the Student Senate at the University of Hawaii.
Sami runs their home business and is the past President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at their daughter’s school. Kaila (10) plays soccer and hopes to someday play for the UH women’s team. Matthew (12) swims breaststroke (just like Mark). He also plays the guitar and the French horn.
Mark in the Military
Mark has served as a member of the Hawaii National Guard for 14 years. He is currently a Lt. Colonel and works as a Preventive Medical Officer. He deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.
Mark served as the President of the Hawaii National Guard Association in 2012-2013. He also led the effort to bring the national conference for the National Guard Association of the United States to Hawaii in September 2013. This convention brought an estimated $25 million to the State of Hawaii in revenue.
“I’m honored to serve along side some incredible people in the United States military!” –Mark
Mark the Representative
During his almost 20 year tenure in the House of Representatives, Mark has been a champion for many. He is the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs.
Mark has worked to alleviate homelessness among returning vets, and helped to create the Veterans Court, which combines the efforts of the state courts with the federal VA social services. He also created the Hawaii Medal of Honor to recognize fallen Hawaii soldiers and their families.
“All through his more than 19 years in the Legislature, Mark Takai has been our champion for the military and our veterans. . . He will continue to be our champion in Congress.” –Major Gen. (ret.) Rick Richardson
As parents, Mark and Sami know the importance and value of a good education. He helped lead the effort to end Furlough Fridays and helped to preserve school bus service for our students. He has worked to increase school-level decision-making, to decrease administrative bureaucracy, and to ensure adequate funding for programs and school facilities.
Mark coordinated a six-year effort that netted more than $40 million in Federal Impact Aid for the Hawaii Department of Education. Mark knows we can’t put our kids first, if we put teachers last. That’s why he has been a tireless advocate for Hawaii educators.
“As a product of Hawaii’s public school system, Mark Takai has a clear understanding of the needs and challenges facing our educational system. He will be an effective voice for our community in Congress.” –HSTA President Wil Okabe
Creating a new green economy is a responsibility Mark takes personally. He not only has sponsored tax credits for families and businesses that invest in green energy, he drives an electric car and has outfitted his own home with solar panels.
Mark in the Community
Mark has focused his efforts in the community. He has backed his commitment to our schools by donating more than $20,000 in scholarships and educational grants.
Since 1996, he has awarded 38 high school scholarships, more than 44 intermediate school awards and more than 700 student awards at elementary schools.
“An important aspect of my legislative career has been my open door policy. I have always encouraged folks to get in touch with me, come by and talk story, call or write letters. If I get to Congress, I will keep that open door policy!” –Mark