Hawaii Senate Majority Leader resigns citing long-term symptoms of COVID
Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English announced Tuesday he will retire from the Hawaii State Senate, citing lingering symptoms from a COVID-19 infection he received while out of state.
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This mid-term retirement means Gov. David Ige has 60 days to appoint a replacement, after receiving three names sent by the Democratic Party for consideration. But English said Rep. Lynn DeCoite is his pick to take his seat.
English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai and Lanai, said he initially thought he was suffering from depression.
The full statement from English:
“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.”
His retirement will take effect Saturday.