comscore 2020 Election: Ty J.K. Cullen | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2020 Election: Ty J.K. Cullen

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  • Ty Cullen
Name on ballot:

Ty J.K. Cullen

Running for:

State House – District 39

Political party:


Campaign website:

No answer submitted

Current occupation:

State Legislator/Public Servant



Previous job history:

Before first being elected as a state legislator/public servant in 2010, I had just attained my Master of Public Administration Degree from UH Manoa and was working as a program coordinator for a local non-profit serving families in our family court system.

Previous elected office, if any:

State House from 2010-present

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

After attaining my Master of Public Administration Degree from UH Manoa, I devoted my time to helping my community. While working as a program coordinator for a local non-profit, I became a member of the Waipahu Neighborhood Board and Village Park Community Association to learn more about the issues my neighbors were having in our community and state and doing what I could to help.

Since first being elected to office in 2010 I have built good working relationships with many community stakeholders, businesses, residents, and other state leaders; attended hundreds of community events, where I met with thousands of people and listened to and addressed their concerns; volunteered for numerous events and projects, from participating in community cleanups to co-organizing the annual Taste of Waipahu; and spent countless hours in the Legislature working to pass legislation to help make Hawaii a better place to live.

I love serving our community as a public servant. I want to preserve this special place that is filled with great people and culture, so our families and future generations can thrive. I want to build upon what we have all worked hard to achieve and increase opportunities for all our residents. With my experience and good working relationships with individuals and businesses across all areas of our state, I know that I can continue to do a lot of good for our community.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Two of my top priorities are improving education and creating better opportunities to improve quality of life.

Some of the ways I work to improve education are supporting long-range infrastructure projects (i.e. Honouliuli Middle School; new buildings at district schools including Campbell High, Ewa Elementary, Ewa Makai Middle, and Honowai Elementary; and UH Allied Health and Administration building); and supporting early childhood programs (i.e. EOEL and Preschool Open Doors) and the Early College program.

One of the ways I work to help improve the quality of life for our residents is by supporting technology development to reduce barriers for businesses to create living wage jobs and build resiliency through sustainability.

As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?

Many of our residents are doing their part by practicing good hygiene practices, social distancing, and wearing face masks when in a public setting, and I encourage everyone to be cautious and protect themselves and those around them.
This past legislative session we provided funding for the Department of Health to combat coronavirus in our state.
As more businesses open up and travel increases, we need to continually update and communicate clear guidelines on safety regulations based on what new information we learn from the Department of Health and the CDC.

What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We need to ensure that we are getting all the help we can get from the Federal Government, and ensure that the executive branch utilizes the Legislature’s comprehensive plan through the budget to use the CARES Act funds to provide the residents of the state of Hawaii with the assistance they need, from business diversification to protecting our social safety-net in our communities.

Should public worker furloughs, pay cuts or downsizing be used to help the state deal with lower tax revenues and higher expenses during the pandemic? Why or why not?

One of our top priorities during this pandemic is to ensure the health and safety of the public. As many public workers are working daily to provide that safety net to our state, we need to ensure that the size of government is adequate to provide services to the public with a fiscally responsible budget.

I support all workers in the state of Hawaii, and believe we should focus on ways to continue stabilizing and strengthen our economy so that those who have taken a pay cut or lost their job can get back what they lost and more.

Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. If elected, what would you propose to support and diversify the state’s economy?

I will continue to support and grow areas of our diverse economy, such as our creative media industry. Over the past few years I have worked with others to expand UH West Oahu’s creative media program, which creates opportunities for our keiki to compete globally and earn a living wage.

Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.

Thank you to the law enforcement community for working daily to protect our communities. I am open to opportunities to enhance public safety to improve the quality of life for our people to have safer communities.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

As a strong supporter for educational opportunity, supporting the project blends educational advancement with cultural practices through generations. This is another opportunity for Hawaii to expand on cultural education, diversify our economy, and go beyond with our voyaging hearts to explore and learn about the unknown.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

Thank you to the residents of State House District 39. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you. As a father of a 20-month-old, all that I do is so the future generations like him may have a better quality of life.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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