John Carroll, a prominent Republican in Hawaii for five decades, has died at age 91.

Hawaii News Now reported Carroll’s death on Wednesday. Brett Kulbis, chair of the Honolulu County Republican Party, confirmed Thursday that Carroll passed away Sunday on Oahu surrounded by loved ones.

Carroll, an attorney by trade, served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1971-1979 representing Waikiki, Moiliili and McCully, and in the Hawaii State Senate from 1979-1981 representing Nuuanu to Diamond Head.

John Carroll at a Civil Beat “Know Your Candidate” event in 2018. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat/2018

He was also a near perennial candidate for office, running unsuccessfully for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Honolulu City Council, Hawaii governor and — just last year — Honolulu mayor.

Carroll was born Dec. 18, 1929, in Kansas. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1951-1953, and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1956-1985, holding the rank of colonel.

He was a former Hawaii Republican Party chairman and was for a time on the board of directors of YMCA and the Hawaii Epilepsy Society. He also worked as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Carroll was also a consistent critic of the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Carroll argued that the cabotage law, because it protects a shipping industry from foreign competition, contributes to Hawaii’s high cost of living.

“With open ports, free trade and a business friendly environment we will propel Hawaii into a totally new, exciting, profitable and stable way of economic survival in these very troubled times,” Carroll wrote in a guest column for Civil Beat in 2010.

In his campaign for Senate in 2010, Carroll wrote in a Civil Beat candidate Q&A, “As a U.S. senator I would vote for and propose inclusive legislation that will ensure the evils of racism, intolerance and bigotry never have a place in America again. As a U.S. senator I would welcome my constituents to voice their concerns and to offer their suggestions for improving a government and a society that in many ways has failed them.”

He continued: “But, most importantly, as a U.S. senator, I would work every day in Washington to build that bridge between two parties who fundamentally want the same thing: A better America. Our country may be torn apart — often down party lines — but it is not too late to start working together.”

What stories will you help make possible?

Since 2010, Civil Beat’s reporting has painted a more complete picture of Hawaii — stories that you won’t find anywhere else.

Your donation, however big or small, will ensure that Civil Beat has the resources to provide you with thorough, unbiased reporting on the issues that matter most to Hawaii. We can’t do this without you.


About the Author