Hawaii Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English announces retirement, citing health concerns

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, who represents District 7; Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai and Lānai, has announced his retirement from the Hawaii State Senate after 25 years of service.

“After many discussions with my doctors, talks with those close to me and careful thought, I am
announcing my retirement from the Hawaii State Senate, effective May 1, 2021. In late November 2020, I contracted COVID-19 while with family out of Hawaii. My symptoms were mild and I did not physically suffer at the time of infection from the virus, unlike many of our friends and family. I was grateful to have healed,” Senator Kalani English began to share.

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“Upon my return to Hawaii, I noticed a change in my energy, pervasive lethargy, memory challenges and a fogginess in my thought process. I was not sure what to make of the challenges and thought I was suffering from depression or issues related to depression,” he continued.

“Having been deemed a long hauler, I was diagnosed with long-term effects of COVID-19. My new
normal will require me to address some of the challenges left to my short and long-term memory and other cognitive issues derived from this virus. These challenges have placed a number of things into perspective for me, including the need to take better care of my health,” Kalani English said.

The senate majority leader shared how blessed he felt to have been given the opportunity to give back to the community that has “reared and nurtured” him and shared how daunting of a task walking away from 25 years of service as a lawmaker would be.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the Hawaii State Senate and the Hawaii House of Representatives, in particular to the Maui delegation for bettering our home. I also want to thank the countless number of friends and family on Maui, Molokai and Lanai who have supported me as a member of the Maui County Council and the Hawaii State Senate. I would not have been able to do any of this without my staff over the years and it is my hope that in leaving, together we have made Maui Nui and Hawaii better,” Kalani English concluded.

The Kamehameha School and University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate was first elected to the Hawaii State Senate in 2000. Before that, he served as a member of the Maui County Council from 1997 to 2000.

Over the course of his legislative career, Senator Kalani English worked tirelessly to secure over $2
billion in funding for the rural communities of Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi,
Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe.

He also successfully championed a number of bills relating to Hawaiian culture, the environment, transportation and energy.

“During my time here in the Senate, I have come to know Senator English as both a colleague and a friend. As a fellow neighbor-island senator, I’ve always admired his passion and dedication toward bettering his community. His twenty-five years of public service will leave a lasting impact on Maui Nui and the entire State. While his presence and leadership here at the State Capitol will be missed, I wish him the best of health and look forward to many more years of continued friendship,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.

Following Senator Kalani English’s exit, democratic party officers from fifteen precincts in Senate District 7 will send three names that to Governor Ige for consideration.

The governor has sixty days to fill the vacancy.

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