Maui Representative Mele Carroll, D–13th District, is stepping down as chairwoman of the House Human Services Committee, according to a news release just sent out from the state House of Representatives communications office. Her reason: undefined “health issues.”
“I recently asked Speaker [Joe] Souki to re-assign the chairmanship this session due to some health issues I have been experiencing,” Carroll says in the statement. “I am more than pleased that Representative Dee Morikawa will now take the lead for the upcoming 2015 Legislative session. Although I really enjoy my chairmanship, I strongly feel that it is best to step down as chair so that the people of Hawaii will continue to receive the best service from the House of Representatives Committee on Human Services. This change will let me focus on my District, my family and my health.”
The statement says nothing about specific about Carroll’s health issues, though it does seem to say that Carroll will remain in office.
While very sad, the news is not surprising. I saw Carroll in person at a candidate forum in Haiku during the summer of 2014, and it seemed to me that she wasn’t well. Soon after, I began hearing rumors that her health wasn’t good.
On July 22, I called Carroll and left a voicemail message asking about her health and if it was, in fact, affecting her campaign. Since she didn’t return the call, I chose not to pursue the issue. Carroll eventually won the 2014 Primary Election (she had no General Election challenger) against Barbara Haliniak, 60.7 percent to 28.3 percent. It was her fifth electoral victory.
“It has been a truly humbling experience to serve as the Chair of the Human Services Committee for the past two years,” Carroll adds in the Jan. 7 news release. “At the helm of this committee I was able to work to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities from the keiki to the kupuna on topics such as, Medicaid to foster care, and child protective services to name a few.”
We at MauiTime wish Carroll a speedy and complete recovery.
Photo courtesy Mele Carroll’s campaign