HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has announced he will not seek a second term in Congress due to health problems.
Takai was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. He had planned to fight the cancer while running for re-election but recently learned the disease had spread, he said in a statement Thursday.
"Right now, for the sake of my family, I need to focus on getting better rather than getting re-elected," said the Democrat. "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."
Takai, 48, was elected in 2014 after former U. S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa left her seat to run for U.S. Senate.
"Mark has a servant's heart and has dedicated his life to working for the people of Hawaii," U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said in a statement. "Now we can show our thanks to him and his family for their service by supporting them and their decision in every way possible."
Born on Oahu, Takai served in the state House of Representatives for 20 years before he was elected to Congress, first winning his statehouse seat at age 27. He served in the Hawaii National Guard for more than a decade.
"Mark's courageous decision to keep fighting for Hawaii's hard-working families throughout the remainder of his term, even as he fights cancer, exemplifies his bravery," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, in a statement. "He inspires us to strive with even greater urgency toward a moonshot to cure cancer."