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Roy Takumi

Getting Results, Getting It Done

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Roy was born and raised in Hawaii.  His father worked for the city's sewer department.  His mother worked as a school custodian.  A product of the public schools, Roy worked since he was 15 starting off bagging groceries at $1.25 an hour. 

After graduating from McKinley High School, he joined the Hawaii Air National Guard and finished technical school at the top of his class.  He went to Leeward Community College while working full-time as a laborer at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.  A life-long learner, he eventually received his master's degree when he was 40. 

At 24, he moved to Japan to work as an organizer in the Korean community in Osaka.  During his six years abroad, he traveled extensively throughout the region—Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Hong Kong—working with community-based development projects.  This experience taught him that people everywhere share the same hopes and dreams for their families.  He came to the belief that decisions that affect people's lives must be made at the community level, not from the top down. 

For the past 30 years, Roy has put these lessons to work for our community.  He has fought to open the legislative process and to make it more accountable and transparent to the people of Hawaii.  He has gained a reputation as an independent thinker who is not afraid to challenge the "old boy" network.  He has been and continues to be in the forefront on a range of issues such as promoting education reform, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and advocating for campaign spending reform.   

Over the years Roy has been recognized for his efforts.  He was the first legislator from Hawaii to be awarded the prestigious Flemming Fellowship given to emerging political leaders in the country.  In 2002, he received the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship for his work in connecting local and global issues.  He was the first Legislator in Residence at the University of Hawaii.  He received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Education Commission of the States.  The Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network recognized him as its Legislator of the Year. 

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Experience Matters

Political Experience 

Assistant Majority Leader 

Chair, Consumer Protection and Commerce 

Chair, Education Committee 

Chair, Higher Education Committee 

Chair, Intergovernmental and International Affairs Committee 

Chair, Recreation and Marine Resources Committee 

Community Experience 

Hawaii Job Training Coordinating Council 

Hawaii P-20 Council 

Inter-Agency Council of Immigrant Services 

Pearl City Community Association 

State Council on Vocational Education 

Work Experience 

Communications Specialist, Hawaii State AFL-CIO 

Program Director, American Friends Service Committee 

Community Organizer, Osaka Japan 

Teacher, English as a Second Language 

Wait Help, Halekulani Hotel 

Laborer, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard 


University of Hawaii, MA, Public Administration 

Long Island University, BA, Education 

McKinley High School 

Awards and Honors 

Flemming Fellowship and Elanor Roosevelt Fellowship, Center for Policy  

  Alternatives, Washington DC 

Legislative Education Leaders Award, The College Board, Washington DC 

Herman S. Doi Fellowship, University of Hawaii 

Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Hawaii 

Outstanding Leadership Award, Education Commission of the States 

Legislator of the Year, Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network 

Professional of the Year, The Special Parent Information Network 

Mahalo Award, The Friends of the Library of Hawaii 

Shining Light Award, Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans 

Distinguished Graduate, Leadership Academy, Hawaii Air National Guard 

Outstanding Honor Graduate, Technical School, Hawaii Air National Guard 

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What Roy believes… 

Roy believes in our community.  He believes that there exists a common sense of decency and a desire for a just society, and that many of us want to do what is right and fair. 

He believes that we share a responsibility to leave a better and brighter Hawaii for our children and for Hawaii itself.  In the end, Roy believes that the true measure of our success as a community will not be measured by the buildings we leave behind, but by the hope we nurture in our children, as well as a place where such hope can become a reality. 

What Roy doesn't believe… 

Roy doesn't believe the world should be divided into those who have and those who have not.  He doesn't believe the world should be divided by the color of our skin or by the religion we choose to practice.  He doesn't believe a community should be divided and turned against itself by special interest groups or blinded by the agenda of a single interest coalition, nor does he believe in those individuals who want government to impose their beliefs on everyone

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Issues We Face

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The Three Rs 


Research and common sense tell us that children learn better in smaller classes with more individual attention. Representative Roy Takumi sponsored bills that increased our educational budget that resulted in smaller class sizes grades K-2.  He also pushed for increased funding for air conditioning, electrical upgrading, and playground equipment. 


Legislators are responsible to ensure that the system is accountable to its customers: our students.  Roy advocated for an educational accountability system because he believes there must be consequences for performance, including rewards, assistance and sanctions. 


Teachers are too often underpaid and undervalued.  Roy knows that if we want to attract and retain the best and the brightest to teach our kids, we have to pay them what they're worth.  He passed legislation for merit pay for teachers and principals and professional development programs. 

"Roy is respected as one of the most knowledgeable, leading education reformers at the legislature.  He has worked to ensure that our children have a public school system that enables them to realize their full potential. His strong commitment to early education has been a model for others."  

Kathy Matayoshi 

Former Superintendent 

Department of Education 

Get Involved

Friends of Roy Takumi
PO Box 1649
Pearl City, HI 96782

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