Lawmaker retires because of long-term effects of COVID-19

HONOLULU — Veteran Hawaii State Sen. Kalani English said Tuesday he will retire on May 1 after being diagnosed with long-term effects of COVID-19.

English, who serves as the Senate majority leader, said he contracted the disease while traveling outside Hawaii with family in November. His symptoms at the time were mild, but he noticed pervasive lethargy, memory challenges and “fogginess” in his thinking when he returned home.

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English said in a statement he’s been diagnosed as a “long-hauler” and will need to address challenges to his short- and long-term memory and other cognitive issues.

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

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The Democrat was first elected to the Senate in 2000. He represents Hana, east and Upcountry Maui and the islands of Molokai and Lanai.

Democratic party officials in English’s district will submit names of three possible replacements to the governor.

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