Progressive Caucus Endorses Mark Takai for Congress (CD1)

On the heels of a solid performance in the Hawaii Congressional District 1 debate among the 7 candidates running in the Democratic Party, Mark Takai racked up another progressive coup:  Endorsement by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

Progressive Caucus member, Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41) said

“If Hawaii voters want to stand up for progressive values, then they have a clear choice for Congress in Mark Takai. In Hawaii’s House of Representatives, Mark Takai has fought for seniors, veterans, and working families. His record of military service and unwavering support for equality for all Americans make him an outstanding candidate.As a former high school teacher, I particularly appreciate his commitment to public
education. We need a courageous leader and progressive champion like Mark Takai in
the U.S. House of Representatives.”

In an unusual move that watchers theorize has to do with Takai elucidating a more and more progressive stance and also a recognition that he is in the best position to beat anti-progressive Donna Mercado Kim, CPC issued a dual endorsement in this race.

Consternation about the possibility of anti-environmental, anti-gay, theocrat Donna Mercado Kim being elected to Congress has apparently reached all the way to Washington D.C.

Takai worked hard in the Hawaii State Legislature to pass the  2013 Minimum Wage increase. Unfortunately, state senate president, Donna Mercado Kim managed to torpedo the increase that year.

Kim not only delayed a raise in the minimum wage in Hawaii, but tried to increase tip credit to $2.  In other words, keep restaurant workers’ minimum wage $2 below everyone else.

Takai supports the president’s call for a higher minimum wage and has vowed to work for federal minimum wage to be pushed up to a living wage, saying that no person working full time should be living in poverty.

Since two-thirds of workers making minimum wage across the country are women, this is an issue that unfairly and disproportionately impacts women.

Hard to believe that a Democrat could vote against Marriage Equality – especially in a progressive state like Hawai’i with a culture that is extremely accepting of various gender identities, but Donna Mercado Kim did so.

Mark Takai has been vocal in how proud he was to vote for Marriage Equality in the State House last year.  Like many people here in Hawaii and across the country, including President Obama and Tulsi Gabbard, Mark evolved on the issue.  One wonders if the common denominator in awakening people to equality is serving in war areas and seeing first hand the toll discrimination takes on gays when it comes to benefits etc.

Takai has gone farther and stated his support of President Obama’s decision to sign the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, which protects LGBT citizens from being targeted because of their sexual orientation.

“I voted yes for marriage equality in the Hawaii State House in November because it was the right thing to do. In Congress, I will work to ensure that the LGBT community has the same rights afforded to everyone else. As a Lt. Colonel in the National Guard, I supported the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was pleased when the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional. I think all people should be treated the same.I will also support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress. No one deserves to be fired because of his or her sexual orientation.”

Kim voted no on Marriage Equality  saying she was guided by her personal religious convictions.  News Flash, Kim:  When you vote religious dogma into law, you are violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In an outstandingly bad decision the more and more discredited Emily’s List mistakenly endorsed the same candidate as the far right anti-abortion organization Family Forum supports.  Say what?

Their decision to endorse Kim is as bad as their Nikki Tinker endorsement which had to be withdrawn.  One hopes that Emily’s list comes to their senses and withdraws this one too.

In 2013, Mark supported a bill, signed into law, requiring hospitals to provide victims of sexual assault with emergency contraception, without any religious exemptions.  He says:

“Government shouldn’t be involved in the most personal decisions a woman and her doctor can make. It is government’s job to ensure that women have access to important and sometimes lifesaving medical services.In Congress I intend to be a faithful defender of a woman’s right to choose. Legislation, such as the so-called “Protect Life Act,” which would allow hospitals and emergency doctors to deny giving a woman a life-saving abortion, is wrong. These political tactics are an outrage and I will fight it on the floor of the House.”

Will Kim, guided by her church’s teachings opposing contraception and abortion, vote her “personal religious convictions” on choice and contraception too?  What was Emily’s List thinking endorsing someone who has a history of voting her religious positions?


Takai opposes the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling and has said it is wrong for some “closely held” corporations to deny women their reproductive freedom and deny coverage of specific birth control methods if those methods conflict with the owners’ religious belief.  He vowed to support legislation that will remove the legislation on which the Court relied to come to this tortured decision.

According to Takai,

“That the Court’s 5-4 ruling was made along gender lines, with only Justice Stephen Breyer dissenting with all three female justices, clearly shows that more needs to be done to protect the rights of American women.  Government must ensure that all women have access to important and life saving medical services and business owners should not be involved in the most personal decision a woman and her doctor make.”

Will Kim fight to keep the Hobby Lobby decision intact?  Given her vote on marriage equality, the prognosis is not encouraging.


Hawaii is in a unique position as it has required businesses furnish their full-time employees with health insurance (HPPHA) since well before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law.

Takai said he supports both the ACA and the HPPHA. “The Affordable Care Act has been good for Hawaii. It helps to reinforce some of the issues Hawaii’s Prepaid Healthcare Act did not address.”  He went on to list:
•    Children coverage to 26 years old.
•    Expansion of MEDICAID
•    No pre-existing condition limitations

Takai has hopes that a less grid-locked congress can work on the ACA to fine tune it as was done with Medicare and Social Security.  He’s said he wants ACA to work in conjunction with our Prepaid Healthcare System as that provides the best of both worlds.

Kim has been scathing in her comments about ACA and  has taken a position against the Affordable Care Act.

Takai points out that it took us over 30 years to get national healthcare coverage – especially coverage that doesn’t exclude pre-existing conditions and has subsidies to help all residents, regardless of job status, afford insurance.  He urges that we work to make the system better, not start all over again.

The good news is that we have a great HI-01 candidate, endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Progressive Caucus, unions, and a GLBT organization.  The bad news is that the other candidates in the race, although not polling as close to Kim as Takai is, are decent candidates and are going to cause the progressive vote to split.

If the vote splits among all the Not-Kim candidates, Kim will walk away with it.  That is why Equality Hawaii and Sierra Club came out early to endorse Mark Takai – both organizations were hoping to kick start a chain reaction to consolidate support behind Mark Takai.

There are only 14 days until the Hawaii primary and voters have already received their ballots.  Mark tells me he needs $60,000 for a last minute ad blitz to push him past Kim.

We either help him now or resign ourselves to being represented by a Republican theocrat in Dem clothing.

Please give what you can.…

Reprinted from DailyKos

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