Rep. Mark Takai enters race for Congress

Joins Chang, Espero in 2014 primary for Hanabusa's House seat

Published  5:43 PM HST Aug 07, 2013
Takai and family
HONOLULU -

There's now a trio of Democrats running for Colleen Hanabusa's 1st Congressional seat.

With his wife Sami and two children by his side, state Rep. Mark Takai announced Wednesday that he's joining Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang and state Sen. Will Espero in next year's race for U.S. Congress.

It's a candidacy he says that focuses on the military, seniors, jobs and education. But ending the cross-party gridlock in Washington is his number-one priority.

"I have a track record that shows that I support things that, that make sense, regardless of partisanship and party labels," said Takai. "I think the main thing here is to get the work done and to end the gridlock in Congress."

It's all part of his experience he said gives him an advantage in the race.

Takai said, "We have a great record of experience.  Nineteen years in the Legislature advocating for things that matter I think the most to Hawaii's people sets me apart."

But his legislative colleague argues he is the one who is better suited for the job.

Sen. Will Espero said, "I have 30 years of work experience in the state, 22 years of city and state government experience and I think that those years of experience have given me the knowledge and the ability to continue my public service in the halls of Congress."

Espero said his top platform is strengthening our economy, while Councilman Stanley Chang, a political rookie compared to others in the race, said his top priority is bringing fresh ideas and leadership.

"You know, this election is about the future of Hawaii," Chang said. "It's about who can bring about the best quality of life, not just five years from now, or the next election, but really 20, 50 years from now."

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson is expected to announce his candidacy for the race on Thursday.

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