Representative Mele Carroll delivered today letters to Governor David Ige and House Speaker Joseph Souki announcing that, effective February 1, 2015, she is resigning from representing the 13th District in the Hawaii State House Representatives.
Rep. Carroll decided to resign due to her health. According to a release sent out today, 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.
“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 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.”
In 2005 Representative Mele Carroll started her Legislative career when she received a phone call from then Governor Linda Lingle in the first week of February to represent the 13th District in the State House of Representatives. At the time she was working as the chief legislative liaison for Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and humbly accepted the call to serve her community by representing them at the state level.
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.
As the Mayor’s chief legislative liaison, she was 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.
“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, Gov. Ige has 60 calendar days from the date of the vacancy to name a replacement for Rep. Carroll’s House seat from a list of three names submitted by the Democratic Party of Hawaii.