Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi) issued the following statement today announcing his retirement from the Hawaiʻi State Senate:

“After many discussions with my doctors, talks with those close to me and careful thought, I am announcing my retirement from the Hawai‘i State Senate, effective May 1, 2021.

In late November 2020, I contracted COVID-19 while with family out of Hawai‘i. 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. Upon my return to Hawai‘i, 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.

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 the virus. These challenges have placed a number of things into perspective for me, including the need to take better care of my health.

I have been blessed to give back to the communities that have reared and nurtured me – it will be a daunting task to walk away from 25 years of service to my island home. I want to thank my colleagues in the Hawai‘i State Senate and the Hawai‘i 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, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi who have supported me as a member of the Maui County Council and the Hawaiʻi 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 Hawai‘i better.”

Senator J. Kalani English is a lifelong Hāna resident. He was first elected to the Hawaiʻi State Senate in 2000. Senator English previously served as a member of the Maui County Council from 1997 – 2000 and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi Loa College and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Over the course of his legislative career, Senator 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 (that were signed into law) relating to Hawaiian culture, the environment, transportation and energy.

One of Senator English’s lasting legacies is the Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Commission (Hawaiʻi Climate Commission). He introduced the measure that created the climate commission while simultaneously aligning Hawaiʻi’s climate policies with the principles and goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement. This landmark measure was signed into law by Governor David Ige on June 8, 2017 and made Hawaiʻi the first state in the nation to enact legislation implementing portions of the Paris Agreement.

In accordance with State law, Democratic Party officers from the fifteen precincts in Senate District 7 will convene to identify three names that will be transmitted to Governor Ige for consideration. The Governor has sixty days to fill the vacancy.