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Hawaii Rep. Mark Takai Takes on Cancer, Re-election Campaign

by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang /
Image: Mark Takai
U.S. Rep Mark Takai (D-HI) does some last minute campaigning on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Honolulu. Marco Garcia / AP, file

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI) has been cleared by his doctor to run for re-election after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last October, according to Civil Beat, a Honolulu-based political news website. He is expected to formally launch his re-election campaign this month.

Takai was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2015, underwent surgery in November, and has been receiving chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. On World Cancer Day last Thursday, Takai updated his constituents as well as recalled an emotional exchange with Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic Issues Conference in January.

“I am doing very well and thank everyone for their continued support and well wishes,” Takai said in a statement. “I am happy to be back in full swing doing the work of representing the people of the first district of Hawaii.”

According to a statement from Takai's office, he and the vice president discussed Biden’s son’s cancer, Takai’s cancer, and the importance of increasing funding for cancer research during the conference. Takai sits on the House Cancer Caucus and the House Deadliest Cancers Caucus.

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“During the State of the Union, President Obama unveiled his ‘Cancer Moonshot’ initiative which was followed by the signing of a presidential memorandum last week creating a White House Task Force on Cancer,” Takai said in a statement dated Jan. 12. “After my meeting with Biden last week, I sent a letter to the Vice President asking to be involved with the Task Force so that I can continue my advocacy for research to eradicate the disease.”

According to Civil Beat, Takai is heavily favored to win his re-election campaign and has yet to draw a challenger.

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