Maui Election

Democratic Party selects three finalists for House District 39 vacancy

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Finalists for House District 39 vacancy. (L to R) Luella Costales, Richard Oshiro, and Tesha Malama.

The members of the Oʻahu County Democratic Party’s House District 39 selection body – comprised of the party’s precinct officers and district council chair who reside in House District 39 – have selected three names to send to Governor David Ige for his consideration to fill the House vacancy created by the resignation of Ty Cullen.

The finalists for the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives seat include:

  • Richard Oshiro, a longtime Waipahu Neighborhood Board member who has worked for the Queen’s Health Systems and at the State Legislature;
  • Tesha Malama, the Director of Planning and Development for HCDA in Kalaeloa and current president of the James Campbell High School & Community Foundation; and
  • Luella Costales, who works as the Community & Resource Strategy Manager for the Oʻahu Economic Development Board and previously served on the Honolulu Police Commission;

These three names were chosen from a pool of six total applicants. These three names were formally transmitted to Governor David Ige this afternoon via an electronic letter. The Governor now has until Saturday, April 9 to select one of these individuals to serve as the next State House Representative from House District 39.


“We are proud to send the names of these three individuals to Governor Ige for his consideration,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, “Each has proven experience as a grassroots leader and community builder, which will serve the district well at this challenging time. We look forward to Governor Ige’s appointment so that District 39 can have effective representation during this legislative session.”

The meeting, which was conducted over Zoom and will be posted to Facebook, was held on Sunday afternoon. All members of the selection body attended, and each was entitled to vote for up to three of the prospective candidates.

Former representative Cullen resigned from his post the same day information documents were announced by the US Attorney’s Office-District of Hawaiʻi. The 41-year-old of Waipahu, Oʻahu, pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud. He is accused of taking bribes and receiving payment for actions involving cesspool legislation. He was representing Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo, and West Loch on Oʻahu.


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