Hawaii 24/7 Staff
Former state lawmaker Robert Herkes has died. He was 83.
Friends report Herkes died Thursday, Aug. 21 at his Volcano home after a short illness.
He served as a Democratic member of the state House of Representatives, represented District 5 between 1992-2012. Herkes had been appointed to the state Senate in 1988 and served there until 1992.
His political career began when he served on the County Council in 1984.
Herkes made small business advocacy a priority during his years as a lawmaker. He owned and operated two restaurants on the Big Island and was a partner in a number of other small businesses.
He also served as director of marketing for the Kamehameha Investment Corporation and billed himself as a retired hotel executive.
Herkes was a member of numerous organizations, including Hawaii Hotel Association, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, and Masonic Lodge.
Herkes advocated for the legalization of gambling and marijuana. He also sought to cut Hawaii’s 17,000 pages of rules and regulations that burdened local business owners.
After 16 years in the Hawaii State House, Herkes ran for state Senate in 2012, but was defeated by Russell Ruderman.
Herkes also was the voice of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and was on Kailua Pier daily for the last month’s tournament.
He was a graduate of Punahou and City College of San Francisco.
Herkes was born Jan. 24, 1931 in Iloilo, Philippines. Herkes leaves behind his wife Jo-Anna, and three children, Bobby, Kenny and Doug.
No services have yet been announced.
Statement of House Speaker Joseph M. Souki on the passing of former Hawaii Island legislator Robert Herkes
“Hawaii has lost a dedicated and passionate public servant who championed protecting consumer rights during his 18 years in the State House of Representatives. Bob worked tirelessly to pass legislation that strengthened the rights of residents in mortgage foreclosures. He was an early and strong advocate of natural disaster preparedness and was one of the first to call attention to the health effects of vog. He was a good legislator, highly respected by his colleagues and a great friend. I will miss him.
On behalf of the House of Representatives I would like to offer our condolences to his wife Jo-Anna and his sons Bobby, Kenny and Doug.”
Governor’s statement on the passing of former state legislator Robert Herkes
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today commented on the passing of former state legislator Robert “Bob” N. Herkes, who died this week at age 83.
Gov. Abercrombie stated:
“A former state representative, state senator, Hawaii County Council member and local businessman, Bob had a solid record of getting things done for the people of Hawaii. His long career in public service brought about countless benefits for Hawaii Island, including his integral role in incorporating the appropriation for the first FEMA-certified shelter in Kau, providing a drinking water system for Ocean View, and establishing a mobile medical van to bring basic medical services to rural areas.
“His fierce dedication to the people of the Big Island and our entire state will be remembered. Our thoughts and aloha are with his wife, Jo-Anna; sons, Bob, Ken and Dough; and the rest of the Herkes ohana.”
The Governor intends to order flags to half-staff on the day of services, once they are announced by the family.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard statement on passing of Bob Herkes
Honolulu – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement on the passing of her former Hawaii State House colleague, Bob Herkes, a Volcano resident who represented Hawaii Island in the State Legislature and County Council for 18 years.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s wife Jo-Anna and their ʻohana as they mourn his passing and celebrate his life and accomplishments. I had the great privilege of serving alongside Bob in the Hawaii State House from 2002-2004, and witnessed how he took great pride in being a public servant. Bob Herkes will be missed, but we will never forget his service and dedication to our community.”
—SCHATZ EXTENDS CONDOLENCES ON THE PASSING OF ROBERT HERKES
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) expressed his sincere sympathy upon the passing of former legislator, Robert Herkes:
“We extend our condolences to the family, many friends and all the people Bob Herkes steadfastly served as a Hawaii County Council member and Hawaii State legislator. Bob was a plain spoken leader who was simultaneously business and community minded. His colleagues always sought his opinion because he was smart, balanced and valued the facts. The more I got to know him, the more I understood his compassion for people most in need and his deep love for our island home. Bob brought a broad talent to public service and he will be missed.”