Hawaii governor taps Fil-Am to replace disgraced solon in State House
Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige on Wednesday, March 9 appointed Luella Costales to replace Ty Cullen, who resigned from the Hawaii House of Representatives last month after being caught in a bribery scandal.
Costales will represent District 39, which covers Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo and West Loch, once the state House qualifies her and administers the oath of office. She will serve the rest of Cullen’s term, which expires in 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.
Costales has been in public service for 35 years. She currently serves as a community and resource manager for the Oahu Economic Development Board.Ashley Smith/2022
She was the director of fund development for the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, and the director of development at Kupu. She also served on the Honolulu Police Commission but resigned in 2017, complaining that the search for a new police chief lacked diversity.
Costales also 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, and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.