Mark Allan Takano (// tə-KAH-no; born December 10, 1960) is an American politician and academic who has been the United States Representative for California's 41st congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, Takano became the first openly gay person of Asian descent in Congress upon taking office.
Early life, education, and academic career
Takano was born in 1960 in Riverside, California. His family was relocated and interned from California to a "War Relocation Camp" during World War II. He is Sansei, that is, the grandson of people born in Japan who immigrated to the United States. He attended La Sierra High School in the Alvord Unified School District, where he graduated as class valedictorian. In high school, he also participated in the Junior State of America, a national student-run organization centered around debate and civic engagement in young people, and was elected the Lieutenant Governor of the Southern California State. He graduated from Harvard University with an AB in Government in 1983. He later graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside in 2010.
Takano taught British literature in public schools for twenty-three years. He was a member of the Republican Party through college, when he became a member of the Democratic Party. In 1990 he was elected to the Riverside Community College Board of Trustees. While on the board, he shepherded a measure that provided Riverside Community College employees with domestic partner benefits.
U.S. House of Representatives
Takano ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives during the 1992 elections in the California's 43rd congressional district. He won a seven-candidate Democratic primary with 29% of the vote. Republican Ken Calvert defeated Takano by 519 votes, 47–46%.
In 1994, Takano defeated Raven Lopez Workman in the Democratic primary, 70–30%. During the campaign, Republican State Assemblyman Ray Haynes outed Takano, calling him a "homosexual liberal". In the general election, Calvert defeated Takano 55–38%.
In July 2011, Takano announced he would run for the U.S. House in the newly redrawn California 41st congressional district, established in the redistricting following the 2010 United States Census. Five candidates ran for the open seat. In the June 2012 open primary, John Tavaglione, a Republican who sat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, ranked first with 45% of the votes. Takano ranked second with 37%. In the November general election, Takano defeated Tavaglione 58–42%. Takano became the first openly gay member of the House who is not white.
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs (Chairman)
- Committee on Education and Labor
- Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus (Co-chair)
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Medicare for All Caucus
- Congressional Energy Storage Caucus (Co-chair)
After Corrine Brown's indictment on July 8, 2016, she temporarily stepped down as ranking member of the Veterans Committee, leaving Takano as acting ranking member until the end of the 114th Congress. When the Democrats took the House majority after the 2018 elections, Takano became the chair of the committee. He is currently the most junior chair of a major House committee.
When Representative Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) circulated a draft letter opposing an immigration reform bill in 2013, asking for signatures, Takano marked it up in red pen like a high school assignment and gave it an F, with comments like, "exaggeration – avoid hyperbole."
Takano co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus, U.S.-Japan Caucus, and the Advanced Energy Storage Caucus.
For his tenure as the chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee in the 116th Congress, Takano earned an "A" grade from the non-partisan Lugar Center's Congressional Oversight Hearing Index.
Takano supports gun control efforts. In the wake of the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Takano criticized Congress on its inability to pass gun control laws, describing the shooting in San Bernardino as "the cost of inaction."
- List of Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans in the United States Congress
- List of LGBT members of the United States Congress
- Goad, Ben (July 1, 2011). "Congress: Takano will seek proposed Riverside-area seat". PE.com. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Johnson, Chris (December 22, 2011). "Takano on path to make history in Calif. race". Washington Blade. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Furutani, Warren. "Welcoming a New Generation of Nikkei Leaders," Rafu Shimpo (Los Angeles). November 23, 2012; retrieved December 2, 2012.
- "Meet Mark | Mark Takano: Teacher for Congress". Mark Takano. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "Notable Alumni of the Junior State of America". Junior State of America. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
- "Harvard Grad Turns Democrat to Win Votes". The Harvard Crimson. October 21, 1992. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- "Mark Takano, D-Calif. (41st District)". Roll Call. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- "Board Members". www.rccd.edu. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
- "CA District 43-D Primary Race – Jun 02, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "CA District 43 Race – Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "California House Race Could be a Soap Opera". Albany, Georgia. Associated Press. November 3, 1994. p. 2A. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- "CA District 43 – D Primary Race – Jun 07, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Goad, Ben (September 21, 2012). "2012 Elections: Takano sees changed political landscape". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- "CA District 43 Race – Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Morrison, Patt (November 11, 1994). "Snapshots of life in the Golden State. : In This Sleaziest of Races, Victor Won by a Mudslide". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "Riverside County Supervisors Marion Ashley and John Tavaglione say goodbye". Press Enterprise. December 11, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
- "CA – District 41 – Open Primary Race – Jun 05, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "CA – District 41 Race – Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Goad, Ben (November 6, 2012). "Congress District 41: Takano has double-digit lead over Tavaglione in nationally watched race". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- David Crary, AP National Writer. "Record number of gays seeking seats in Congress". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Candido, Sergio N. (October 29, 2012). "Top 5 Gay National Races". SFGN. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Hoyer Congratulates Leaders of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus for the 117th Congress". The Office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. December 18, 2020.
- "Caucus Members". US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- Horseman, Jeff (July 11, 2016). "Congress: Corrine Brown indictment makes Mark Takano ranking Democrat on veterans' affairs committee". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- Rep. Mark Takano Corrects Republican Letter, Proves He Will Always Be A Teacher, By Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post, 07/12/2013
- "Members". LGBT Equality Caucus. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
- "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on January 20, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
- "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Members". U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "Congressional Oversight Hearing Index". Welcome to the Congressional Oversight Hearing Index. The Lugar Center.
- Broverman, Neal (December 3, 2015). "San Bernardino-Area Gay Congressman Blasts 'Inaction' on Gun Control". Advocate. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
- "Congressman Mark Takano Calls for Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump". NBC Los Angeles. August 24, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
- Gangitano, Alex (March 6, 2018). "Takano Shares His Family's Secret". Roll Call. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
- "13 Questions with Congressman Mark Takano". Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
- Congressman Mark Takano official U.S. House website
- Mark Takano for Congress
- Mark Takano at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress