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Governor picks Luella Costales to replace Ty Cullen in state House

Costales Headshot.jpg
Ashley Smith
Luella Costales

Gov. David Ige has appointed Luella Costales to replace Ty Cullen in the state House of Representatives.

Costales serves as a community and resource manager for the Oʻahu Economic Development Board. Previously, she was the director of fund development for the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, and the director of development at Kupu.

In addition, Costales serves on the board of directors for the FBI Honolulu Citizens Academy Alumni Association and is a committee member of the WWII Filipino Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Committee, the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, as well as the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

She will represent House District 39 – which covers Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo and West Loch – until this November.

Costales was one of three candidates sent by the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi to Ige for consideration. The other candidates were Richard Oshiro and Tesha Malama.

Cullen resigned last month after being charged with federal corruption crimes for accepting more than $23,000 and accepting other gifts.

He pleaded guilty to those charges on Feb. 18 and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

“Luella has over 35 years of experience serving her community through the non-profit sector,” Ige said in a statement. “One of her main goals is to restore public trust in the legislative process and I believe she’s the right person to help ensure honesty, clarity, and integrity in her role serving the people of Hawaiʻi. I wish her all the best and look forward to working with her.”

“I’m honored by Governor Ige’s appointment to represent State House District 39 and am grateful for his efforts to ensure our district has representation for the remainder of this legislative session,” Costales said in a statement. “District 39 is made up of resilient people from diverse backgrounds and experiences and I’m honored to represent them during this time.”

“Luella Costales’ wide ranging experience in nonprofits and in the community will allow her to hit the ground running on behalf of her constituents in HD39,” Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, said in a statement. “She will be an effective leader at a time when rebuilding trust in government is needed the most. As a legislator, she has pledged to be open and engaged with her neighbors, and she will be focused on key issues for her community like affordable housing, addressing traffic, and economic development.”

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