Former state legislator and community leader Kip Tokuda died Saturday of a heart attack while fishing on Deer Lake on Whidbey Island. He was 66.
Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said Tokuda called out for help from his small kayak about 11:25 a.m. Saturday. Several people on shore came to his assistance and started CPR but Tokuda was unresponsive. An ambulance arrived shortly afterward and medics continued CPR, but were unable to revive him, Bishop said.
Tokuda served in the state Legislature from 1994 to 2002, representing Seattle’s 37th District, which encompassed the Central Area and Southeast Seattle. He was known in Olympia as a champion of children and families and served on the House Children and Family Services Committee as well as the House Juvenile Justice and Family Law committees.
Most recently, he was appointed by Mayor Mike McGinn to the Community Police Commission charged with overseeing reforms in the Seattle Police Department to address excessive use of force and racial profiling. McGinn called Tokuda an inspiration and mentor to many in the community, including himself.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, who served with Tokuda in Olympia, echoed the shock and sadness of others at Tokuda’s death.
“Kip was a respected colleague and mentor during my service in the state Legislature. He devoted his career to improving the lives of our region’s children and families. We have lost a dedicated public servant, a visionary leader and a pioneer for the Asian-American community, and a devoted husband, father, brother and son,” Constantine said in a statement.
Tokuda grew up in a prominent Asian-American family and graduated from Cleveland High School and the University of Washington.