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Monday, July 15, 2013

Former State Legislator Kip Tokuda Dies at Age 66

Posted by on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

On Saturday, former state legislator Kip Tokuda (D-South Seattle) suffered a heart attack while kayak fishing on Whidbey Island's Deer Lake, according to his family. He passed away at the age of 66.

Tokuda's family released a statement today saying that they wished "to thank Mayor McGinn for his heartfelt support and kindness. We also want to thank all the people who have called to express their sympathy. We are very saddened by Kip's sudden passing and we are still absorbing the shock. We appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers."

Tokuda served in the legislature from 1994 to 2002, advocating for people with developmental disabilities and helping pass a "Special Needs" adoption measure. Most recently, he was appointed by Seattle mayor Mike McGinn to the city's new Community Police Commission, which was convened to explore police reform measures, establish police priorities, and engage in community outreach. I never had the pleasure of meeting Tokuda but he sounds like a thoughtful, influential man who worked hard to advocate for underserved people.

Here's what a number of people have to say about Tokuda and his legacy in Washington:

"He was an inspiration and mentor to many in the community, including me," remembers Mayor Mike McGinn. "With his cheerful insistence on doing what was right, he pitched in to guide my transition to Mayor, serve as interim Human Services Department director, develop new Seattle Police Department recruitment policies, and serve on our newly formed Community Police Commission. Seattle was enriched by him, and we will miss him deeply. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and the community that loved him.”

“As director of our City’s Human Services Department’s Family and Youth Services Division, Kip worked diligently to address the complicated issues sounding homeless children, foster care and abuse prevention," explains a statement released by the Seattle City Council. "More recently, he joined the Community Police Commission and partnered with Seattle Police to assist in the development of a more diverse officer recruitment process, a program of which he was quite proud."

"He devoted his career to improving the lives of our region’s children and families," King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. "We have lost a dedicated public servant, a visionary leader and pioneer for the Asian American community, and devoted husband, father, brother, and son."


Comments (11) RSS

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A good man. Sorry to see him pass...
Posted by lotus eater on July 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
Dang. I just saw him at Mike McGinn's party a couple of weeks back.

Sorry to hear he's gone - he was a good guy.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 15, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Our kids grew up together and we are heartbroken at Kip's passing. Kip was ALWAYS working to make Washington and Seattle a more equitable place.

Kip's wife, Barb, is a tireless community organizer & together this family has given so very much to all of us.

Our hearts are with Barb & the girls.
Posted by go bulldogs on July 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 4
That's the way I want to go. I'd like five more years, but if it's that vs. 15 years of dementia, I'll take it.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on July 15, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
Wow....I also saw him recently, and he looked to be in good health.

He was a wonderful public servant. This is a serious loss. My condolences to Rep. Tokuda's family.
Posted by grkle on July 15, 2013 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Are there any WA Republican officials about which the following would have been written or said at their passing?: ""He devoted his career to improving the lives of our region’s children and families,"
Posted by moretent on July 15, 2013 at 9:23 PM · Report this
Posted July 12th, 2013
Action for Washington Aims to Make GOP Cool Again – Centrist Youth Organization Has Roots in Party’s Late-‘60s Glory Days

The time is right again for a movement of a centrist stripe, Reed says, moderate on social and environmental issues while favoring fiscal conservatism and local control. “This works for young people, because the gay rights issues, the environment issues, the distortions we saw last summer – they turn young people off of the Republican Party.

“A lot of the people championing doing this are people like myself. We reach all the way back to the ‘60s and the ‘70s, and remember a Republican Party that was much more open and inclusive. Even Barry Goldwater, who was a hardcore conservative of the party, was pro-choice and pro-gay rights, not out of any great passion for the issues, but because he believed it wasn’t any of the government’s business and we shouldn’t be telling people what to do..."…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 15, 2013 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 8
@6 there are none, and there will not ever be any. Clearly today's GOP does not do more than just pay lip service to any issues involving improving the lives of children and families.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 16, 2013 at 5:58 AM · Report this

Due to decreasing state support for State Food Assistance in recent years, Sen. Joe Fain spearheaded an effort to restore funding for the program in the Senate operating budget approved on April 5.

“The state constitution demands that we educate every child within our border,” said Fain, who serves as the Senate majority floor leader. “Restoring food assistance is the first step toward ensuring that many of those students show up to the classroom ready to learn.”…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 16, 2013 at 6:24 AM · Report this


The Washington State Senate took another step to combat human trafficking and commercial sexual abuse with Monday’s unanimous passage of two proposals. Sen. Joe Fain, who represents the 47th Legislative District in South King County, said the Senate’s action is another strong and necessary step aimed at keeping exploited women and children safe.…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 16, 2013 at 6:34 AM · Report this
I gew up with Kip. His older brother was born with severe developmental disabilities and Kip took it upon himself to help care for him. Kip grew up in a colorfuly diverse community - a sometimes tough community. His passion for children ran deep and was genuine - those who are abused, those with disabilities and those who are otherwise disadvanaged by their ethnicity or community all got his attention. He grew up in tough surroundings and displayed that toughness along with the compassion and humor that helped take off some of the "edge" so that he could work both sides of the aisle and focus on the common vision - focus on "the right thing to do." He worked tirelessly and behing-the-scenes, never seeking any glory, so many may not know him well. But the 800 community and civic leaders who attended his memorial give testament to his contributions. Kip's story from his days "in the hood" to his seat in the Legislature is an interesting one. And the contributions of his "extended family" to the community just multiplies the total of his leadership. Kip, you WILL be missed.
Posted by SinceDayOne on July 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this

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