Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Representative Mele Carroll to resign from State House
Representative Mele Carroll delivered today letters to Governor Ige and House Speaker Souki announcing that on February 1, 2015, with the support of her family and friends, she is resigning from representing the 13th District in the Hawaii State House Representatives.
After consulting with doctors, contemplating her situation, and confirming with her husband and family, Rep. Carroll decided to resign due to her health. Complications from her previous cancer treatments have arisen in the recent months that now affect her quality of life and which may affect her ability to do her job. The time has come for her to address her health and spend quality time with her loved ones and closest friends.
“While it is with deep sadness that I accept the resignation of Rep. Carroll from the State House, I fully understand and support her priorities regarding her health,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “I speak for every member of the House in wishing her well and in expressing our gratitude for all that she has done for the people of her district, the Legislature and the State of Hawaii.
“Rep. Carroll has worked hard to call attention to the needs and wishes of the people of Maui, and I’ve personally witnessed how much she has sacrificed and seen how passionate she is about her role as their representative.”
Representative Carroll was re-elected on November 4, 2014 to begin her sixth term representing the 13th House district. The 13th District is a “canoe” district that includes East Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokini.
"Making the decision to step down has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It is a heartbreaking reality that I have to face," Carroll said. "Serving in the State House of Representatives has been a truly rewarding experience. I am thankful that the people of the 13th District have trusted in me to represent them as their elected legislator. Every day that I came to work was a blessing and something I never took for granted. I cannot say enough about the dedication of people I have met in my journey through the State Capitol, they and my fellow legislators have become my family.
"I want to thank Speaker Souki for his support and understanding as I made this difficult decision, as well as Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say for his support during his tenure and while I served as the Chair of the House Hawaiian Legislative Caucus. Both Speakers showed me their compassion and understanding as I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments during my service in the State House. I will never forget the sensitivity and compassion they bestowed upon me. They made my fight a little easier. My colleagues have been a tremendous support throughout my tenure at the Capitol and I am confident the people of Hawaii will continue to be served honorably by our state legislators," Carroll said.
Carroll served as the Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and as a member for the Committees on Health and Housing. During her tenure, she also served as the chair of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, and a member of the Women's Legislative Caucus, Keiki Caucus, Kupuna Caucus, as well as the Historical Preservation Caucus.
Prior to her appointment in 2005 by Gov. Linda Lingle, Carroll served as the executive assistant and the chief legislative liaison to County of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and was responsible for representing Maui at the Legislature by providing oral and written testimony, researching and drafting bills as well as providing community updates through public forums and meetings.
As the Mayor’s chief legislative liaison, she was also responsible for writing a federal grant proposal to the U. S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for $2 million that contributed to the purchase of Muolea Point (73 acres) in Hana and worked with the community to develop a management plan to preserve Muolea Point which was known as King David Kalakaua’s summer home for the alii.
Carroll was a key leader and instrumental in helping secure funding for the new emergency medical helicopter service for Maui County. She did this by working with a bi-partisan coalition of community leaders. The Maui representative also served as chief of staff to State Senator J. Kalani English for two years, in addition to serving four years as his chief of staff at the Maui County Council. She was appointed and served on the state’s Cable Television Advisory Committee and the state’s Na Ala Hele Trails Council.
Carroll’s community service includes serving on the following boards of non-profit organizations: past president of the Waikikena Foundation; past president of the Maui AIDS Foundation; past vice president for the Friends of Maui County Health Organization; past board director of the `Aha Ali`i Kapuaiwa O Kamehameha V Royal Order of Kamehameha II; past board director for the Maui Adult Day Care Center; member of the Aloha Festivals Maui Steering Committee; past board director of the Na Po’e Kokua; and Paia Youth & Cultural Center. She also served as the head coach of the Lahainaluna High School’s girls varsity basketball team.
"Again, thank you for this honor," Rep. Carroll said in closing. "This has been an extremely rewarding experience that I will never forget."
According to state law, Governor Ige has 60 calendar days from the date of the vacancy to name a replacement for Representative Carroll’s House seat from a list of three names submitted by the Democratic Party of Hawaii.