State Sen. Breene Harimoto died Thursday night after a five-year bout with pancreatic cancer, according to the Hawaii Senate.

Since 2014, Harimoto, 66, represented parts of Pearl City, Waimalu, Aiea and Halawa in the Legislature. He was vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and also held a seat on the Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee.

During a news conference Friday, Senate President Ron Kouchi remarked on the “incredible courage” Harimoto showed working in the Legislature while continuing to battle cancer.

“An incredible role model of how to live your life with dignity,” Kouchi said. “His legacy will live well past his earthly life.”

Senator Breene Harimoto listens to UH VP Budget Finance Kalbert Young during preliminary meeting on UH budget held at Capitol room 211.
Senator Breene Harimoto at a hearing at the Capitol in December 2018. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gov. David Ige, in offering his condolences, struck a similar, somber tone.

“Breene was a true dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly and selflessly for the community he loved, even while fighting his illness,” the governor said in a written statement.

Previously, Harimoto served on the Honolulu City Council for four years. During that tenure, he chaired the Council’s Transportation Committee. He supported rail and transit oriented development, according to a Senate press release.

As chair of that committee, he also lead investigations into several rail contractors in 2011.

Harimoto was also a former member of the state Board of Education.

Harimoto’s term in the Senate was set to end in 2022.

Oahu Democrats will likely compile a list of names of people from which Ige will choose to fill Harimoto’s seat in the Senate. A similar process was followed in 2016, when former Sen. Gil Kahele of Hawaii island died.

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