HONOLULU – Big Island Rep. Denny Coffman, (D-Na’alehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) said Monday he will resign from the State House of Representatives effective December 20.
In a letter to State leaders, he said he will move to the mainland to spend time with his family as his daughter battles cancer.
Coffman has served in the State House for three terms, beginning in 2008, and focused on renewable energy issues through his role as the Chair of the Committee on Energy & Environmental Protections. Coffman also serves on the Committees on Judiciary; Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs; and Water & Land.
Prior to his election to office, Coffman served in the U.S. Army, was a small business owner, computer programmer and system analyst and an administrator in the information technologies industry.
“I am extremely honored to have been elected by the people of Hawaii Island and to serve three terms in the Legislature,” Coffman said.
“It is with a heavy heart that I made this decision but as a father and grandfather, I am firmly committed to my family and will be there for my daughters and grandchildren in their time of need. I leave knowing that I have represented the communities of Hawaii Island and the State to the best of my ability.”
House Speaker Joe Souki said it is with deep sadness and regret that he accepts the resignation.
“I have been honored to call Denny a colleague, …” Souki said, noting Coffman “will surely be missed.”
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Coffman represented the people of Hawaii Island well and helped set the state on a viable path to a responsible and economically sustainable energy policy.
“While I was saddened to hear of his decision to step down as a member of the House, I recognize, as does anyone who knows him, that as a father and grandfather matters of the family take precedence. The people of Hawaii are thankful for his service and leadership, and we offer our deepest aloha to his family,” Abercrombie said.
Coffman said in his letter to state leaders that he lost his wife of 44 years, Bonnie Coffman, on August 11 at the age of 69.
She had been diagnosed in October 2012 with Glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer.
On June 28, Coffman said their granddaughter, Dakota, was born and his wife was able to meet and spend time with the newest member of their family before she died.
He learned of his daughter’s renewed battle with cancer on November 17.
The governor will name Coffman’s replacement.