By Derrick DePledge
VoteVets.org, the progressive veterans advocacy group that helped U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard get elected last year, has endorsed state Rep. K. Mark Takai for Congress.
VoteVets financed advertising for Gabbard that, combined with help from the Sierra Club and EMILY's List, enabled her to separate herself from a crowded field of Democrats that included former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Takai, a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard, has also been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a McKinley High School and University of Hawaii graduate badly injured in the Iraq War.
“From Kuwait to the state House, Mark has always been there for those who served in uniform,” Greg White, the Hawaii state chair for VoteVets.org, said in a statement. “But, his record is so much more than that. His dedication to Hawaii, and his constituents, has been boundless. From seniors to children, and all of the working men and women in between, Mark has been there. He’ll carry that dedication to Congress, and make us all very proud.”
Takai is facing state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, state Sen. Will Espero and activist Kathryn Xian in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District.
Hanabusa is challenging U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.