U.S. Rep. Mark Takai said today he will not seek a second term in Congress, an announcement that comes seven months after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Takai, 48, was elected to his first term in Congress in 2014, representing urban Oahu. He announced in October he had been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas. He had surgery Nov. 10 and was back in the U.S. House to cast a vote by early December.
On Feb. 17 Takai announced he would be running for re-election, but reversed course today.
“In life, we often make plans for ourselves. I had envisioned a long career in the U.S. House of Representatives, building up the seniority and influence that were key to Senator Inouye’s ability to deliver for Hawaii. But as often happens, we find ourselves on a different journey than what we had planned,” Takai said in a written statement.
“When I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, my family and I resolved to fight it head-on and with deep personal faith. Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads. I had truly hoped to aggressively fight this cancer while seeking re-election, but I recently learned that my cancer has spread.
“Putting Hawaii and its people first means that I must regretfully withdraw from my 2016 re-election race for Congress and suspend my campaign. Right now, for the sake of my family, I need to focus on getting better rather than getting re-elected.
“Although I will not be running for re-election, I intend to serve out the remainder of my term in Congress. There is still much work that I am determined to see through for Hawaii and our nation over the next few months.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and supporters for their unwavering love and support. My time in public service has been an incredible journey, all made possible by my wife Sami, my children, Matthew and Kaila, my parents, siblings, and the many individuals who are family to me, either by blood, or by kinship.
“To my supporters, I say a heartfelt ‘Mahalo!’ You have been the foundation upon which my 20-plus years of public service has been built. Thank you for your love, friendship, and continued prayers,” said Takai said.
Takai served in the state Legislature for two decades before winning election last year to the U.S. House seat that was vacated by former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Takai is an Iraq War veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard.