HONOLULU (KHON2) — Work begins to fill the seat that once belonged for former House Representative Ty Cullen. This comes as the legislative session is underway, causing concern for some residents.
Cullen was in attendance for Tuesday’s House floor session at noon. A few hours later, he resigned following federal corruption charges, leaving the House District 39 seat vacant.
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“I’m actually still processing it, this is kind of shocking,” said Cory Chun, Waipahu neighborhood board chair.
District 39 covers Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo and West Loch. The Waipahu neighborhood board says the vaccancny is a concern for residents.
“We were working on major issues like illegal fireworks,” Chung said. “We’re also concerned about some of the locations that were designated for the new landfill. Big issues like that, you still want to make sure that there is representation and that the community’s voices heard.”
The Legislative sessions is moving quickly and will convene on May 5. KHON2 was told that any of Cullen’s votes up until Tuesday will stand.
Now, the Democratic Party must nominate three names to Gov. Ige to replace Cullen’s seat. It’s taking fast action to make sure the district is well represented during the legislative session.
The application window will be open for a week beginning Thursday, Feb. 10 online at the Hawaii Democratic Party website. Then, district leaders will meet on Feb. 20 to recommend three names.
“That person is going to serve until the 2022 elections, at which time the voters in that district will have a say on who’s going to represent them,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Democratic Party of Hawaii Chair.
Gov. Ige will have to make an appointment for the District 39 seat by April 9.
Residents are hoping whoever fills that seat will mend the public’s trust.
“I would just be looking for somebody who can continue working on the issues that are important to the community and to represent them and just build back that trust with government and our elected officials,” Chung said.