State Representative Mele Carroll, a Democrat whose district includes Haiku, Paia, Hana, Kahoolawe, Molokai and Lanai, is resigning from the state House of Representatives because of her health. A Jan. 20 news release from the state House of Representatives communications office offered a few details:
“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.”
Carroll was chairwoman of the House Human Services Committee, but she resigned that post on Jan. 7, citing unspecified “health issues” (click here for my blog post on that resignation).
Carroll has served in the state House since 2005, when Gov. Linda Lingle appointed her the seat after Sol Kaho’ohalahala resigned to take over as executive director of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission. She was most recently reelected in 2014 with an overwhelming 60.7 percent of the vote.
In the Jan. 20 news release, Carroll said her decision to resign was extremely difficult:
“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. 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.”
Though mostly a loyal Democrat, Carroll strongly opposed Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s special session to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gov. David Ige has 60 days from Carroll’s date of resignation to choose a replacement from a list of three individuals submitted by the Democratic Party of Hawaii, according to the Jan. 20 news release.
“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 in the Jan. 20 news release. “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.”
2010 photo of Mele Carroll and Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran: Mauitime