[Ed. note: We updated this post on Feb. 19 to include more tributes to Carroll from various public officials]
State Representative Diana “Mele” Carroll has passed away. The Democrat who’s represented East Maui, Lanai, Kaho’olawe and Molokai had recently been elected to her sixth term. Citing unspecified health issues, Carroll resigned her seat in January.
According to a state Legislature news release sent out today, Carroll “passed at 3:50am on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 with her family at her side.” Services are pending and will be announced later.
Rep. Carroll was most recently the chair of the House Committee on Human Service (HUS) and a member for the Committees on Health (HLT) and Housing (HSG). She’s also chaired the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus and served as a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, Keiki Caucus, Kupuna Caucus and Historical Preservation Caucus.
“It is a very sad day for the House,” said Speaker Joe Souki in today’s news release. “Mele brought to the Legislature a vigorous desire to serve and deep love for Maui, Molokai and Lanai and Hawaii in general. She will be greatly missed by everyone here at the Capitol. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”
Here are some other tributes from various state and local public officials:
• U.S. SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO: “I am saddened by the passing of Mele Carroll. Mele’s dedicated career of public service is highlighted by her passionate involvement in key issues that embody her compassion and caring for the people of Hawaii. I extend my deepest sympathies to the Carroll ohana.”
• MAUI MAYOR ALAN ARAKAWA: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Mele’s passing. She has been a tremendous friend for several decades now, having worked with her on the Council, on the Legislature, and especially as one of my Executive Assistants during my first mayoral term. She was a great advocate for the people of Maui County, and for the State of Hawaii. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with her family during this time of grief.”
• HAWAII CHIEF JUSTICE MARK RECKTENWALD: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Representative Mele Carroll’s family. On behalf of the Judiciary ohana, we thank Representative Carroll for her distinguished service to the people of Hawaii. She was a dedicated public servant, and a kind and caring person. She will be missed.”
• HAWAII GOVERNOR DAVID IGE: “Mele was an outstanding representative of her district, and we will remember the results she achieved and the Aloha spirit with which she conducted her work.”
• HAWAII LT. GOV. SHAN TSUTSUI: “My heartfelt condolences go to the ohana of former House of Representative Mele Carroll. As chair of the Human Services committee, she was a staunch advocate for people in need and loved representing the area she served. I will miss working with her on issues relating to our home, Maui County.”
• MAUI STATE SENATOR J. KALANI ENGLISH: “I join my fellow Senate colleagues and all of Maui County in expressing our deepest and sincerest condolences to the family of my friend and colleague Mele Carroll. Mele and I worked closely since my days as a Maui County councilmember and continued with me when I started in the Hawaii State Senate. While serving as my chief of staff, Mele garnered the proficiency and knowledge of the County of Maui and the Hawaii State Senate. She went on to make her own mark serving the people of Maui and our State and helping all those she came in contact with. Hawaii has suffered the loss of a dedicated leader and honorable public servant. I will dearly miss my friend and colleague Mele Carroll.”
Photo courtesy Hawaii state Legislature