Senator J. Kalani English was raised in Hana, Maui by his grandparents who instilled in him a strong work ethic and dedication to family and community. Bilingual in English and Hawaiian languages and proficient in Mandarin, Senator English possesses uniquely diverse attributes. He has both a distinguished birthright and well-earned recognition as a ranking Ali'i 7th degree, Royal Order of Kamehameha I and member of The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Of Hawaiian, Tahitian, Chinese & Russian Jewish heritage, Senator English graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1984. He went on to Taiwan, continuing his studies and received a certificate from the Center for Public and Business Administration Education from the National Chengchi University. Then in 1989 he earned his B.A. in Pacific Islands Studies from Hawai'i Loa College. He is an alumnus of the East-West Center's Institute of Culture & Communication, and completed graduate studies at UH Manoa in 1995 with an M.A. in Pacific Island Studies.
Senator English built upon his diverse personal and educational backgrounds by developing expertise in a variety of professions including culture, education, horticulture, tourism, journalism, and public service both as a diplomat and as an elected lawmaker. From 1993-1996 he was an adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the UN. He was Chief of Staff for a state Senator from 1995-1996, served as a two term Councilmember on the Maui County Council from 1997-2000, and joined the Hawaii State Senate in November 2000.
During his first term in 2001, Senator English was the Senate Majority Floor Leader and served on the Committees of Ways and Means; Health and Human Services; Education, Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing; Water, Land, Energy and Environment; and Tourism and Intergovernmental Affairs. In his second and third terms, he served as Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee and served as a member on four committees, then subsequently served as Chair of the Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. Senator J. Kalani English currently serves as the Senate Majority Leader. He is vice chair of the Senate Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Tourism and International Affairs, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Ways and Means and Transportation and Energy.
Senator English constantly seeks out opportunities to further his development as a Legislator and community leader. In 2003 he completed The Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also participated in the prestigious Flemming Leadership Retreats and the Council of State Governments' Henry Toll Fellowship Program.
Senator J. Kalani English received a Pacific Business Center "Stars of Oceania" award at the 2009 Stars of Oceania Pasifika Energy Summit on Thursday, April 9, 2009. The award recognizes Senator English for his personal interest, advocacy and example of statesmanship in cultivating, strengthening and promoting greater cooperation and collaboration between the Hawai'i State Legislature and the Territories, Freely Associated States, and Commonwealths of the Pacific.
Former President, Association of Pacific Island Legislatures; Member, National Council of State Legislatures Transportation Committee; Delegate, National Caucus of Native American State Legislators; Member, American Council for Young Political Leaders; Chair, Senate Committee on Transportation & International Affairs; Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Energy and Environment; Member, Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs; Member, Senate Committee on Ways & Means; Member, Advisory Group of the Integrated Resource Plan; Member, Hawai'i Invasive Species Committee; Member, O'ahu Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee; Member, Hawai'i Energy Policy Forum; Board Member, Maui Arts & Cultural Center; Board Member, Ho'onipa'a no Hana Foundation; Vice President, Hui Aina O Hana.