Former southeast Seattle state Rep. Kip Tokuda, 66, died on Saturday of a heart attack while fishing on Whidbey island.
Tokuda served in the state house from 1994 to 2002. He was succeeded by Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, SE Seattle). In the legislature he worked on developmental disabilites issues. Most recently he had been head of Seattle's Family and Youth Services Division. Tokuda was also a founder of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington and the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation.
Tokuda reemerged recently as a Mayor Mike McGinn ally. He served as McGinn's interim human services department director early in McGinn's administration and in March, McGinn appointed Tokuda, who had endorsed McGinn for mayor, to the commuity police commission that's part of the DOJ oversite plan.
A letter from Tokuda praising McGinn on police accountability issues appears on McGinn's campaign web site.
McGinn issued the following statement:
For decades in Seattle and Olympia he was steadfast in his work for racial justice, for the disadvantaged, and for our youth. He was an inspiration and mentor to many in the community, including me. 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.
And Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following statement:
Trudi and I grieve today with Kip Tokuda’s family, friends and the many people he helped in a lifetime of selfless community service.
Kip had a deep commitment to Washington’s Japanese-American community – a commitment to justice born from the injustice his family faced. He never wavered in his drive to bring fairness to all members of our society. That was his passion and his profession, whether as a state lawmaker, heading Seattle’s Family and Youth Services Division or as a member of Seattle’s Community Police Commission.