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."