Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 Primary Election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.

The following came from Cullan Bell, candidate for Maui County mayor. The other candidates are Richard Bissen, Kim Brown, Alana Kay, Jonah Lion, Mike Molina,  Kelly King and Mike Victorino.

Go to Civil Beat’s Election Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Candidate for Maui County Mayor

Cullan Bell
Party Nonpartisan
Age 33
Occupation Small business owner
Residence Kihei, Maui


Community organizations/prior offices held

None provided.

1. What is the biggest issue facing Maui County, and what would you do about it?

Maui County is being plagued by many issues such as unaffordable homes, lack of food security and water mismanagement. The most concerning problem to me is how our children are still being abused by the Department of Education in schools. When I am mayor I will still be fighting for the children as I have for three years, but with a bigger platform.

2. In the last two years alone, the median sales price of a Maui home has shot up almost $400,000, driven by a surge of out-of-state buyers during the pandemic. What can the county do to ensure that families aren’t priced out?

Our housing market, and politicians selling out to developers and real estate investors are unacceptable. I will clean our house out. We need to ensure we have affordable homes, and rentals for us locals, not foreign or out-of-state buyers and investors.

3. In recent years, there has been a significant push to reform law enforcement and beef up oversight of police. What would you do specifically to increase oversight of local law enforcement? Are you satisfied with the Maui Police Department and the Maui Police Commission?

I am not satisfied with the leadership in the Maui Police Department. The problems the department are going through have a direct correlation to bad leadership.

The Police Commission needs to be revamped, and elected. With good, honest, and moral leadership, everything else will begin to fall into place. We need to back our law enforcement, they back us!

4. The Maui County Council recently passed a temporary moratorium on the construction of new hotels and other visitor accommodations and will over the next several months decide whether to make it permanent. Do you support capping the number of hotels and visitor lodgings on Maui? Why or why not?

Yes, I support the moratorium on hotels and visitor accommodations. If you look at the Maui Plan, we’re supposed to be at a maximum ratio of 1:3 tourist-to-local. We’re the opposite of that at the very least right now. They are everywhere. We can’t get reservations to eat. We can’t go to a beach without getting our feet stepped on. Our wildlife are being encroached on. They go places they shouldn’t.

We need to focus on us. We need to get Maui County in a good spot before we can start worrying about others. We’re suffering.

5. Do you feel the governor and Legislature appreciate the issues of Maui County, or are they too focused on Honolulu and Oahu? How would you change that?

If we don’t get the right people in office for governor, and legislators this election, it’ll make my job a whole lot harder. I’m a fighter. I’ll fight for my home till my last breath. This is our house. We’re taking it back.

6. Do you think the County of Maui should do more to manage water resources that were long controlled by plantations? Why or why not?

Our water has been illegally taken and sold back to us for far too long. The mismanagement, and straight disregard for our culture and our people, is coming to an end. I will fight for our water like I fight for our people. The take back is now!

7. Climate change is real and will force us to make tough decisions. What is the first thing Maui County should do to get in front of climate change rather than just reacting to it?

Climate change is a hoax. Global warming is a hoax. I’m not saying that the climate doesn’t change over the course of time, but the “climate change” you are referring to is hogwash.

If sea levels were indeed rising, ask Obama why both of his multimillion-dollar mansions are literally on the water? Ask Jon Kerry (climate czar) why he decided a house on the water in Martha’s Vineyard is a good idea? Ask all these “elites” who push climate change how they get around?

We need to take care of our environment, but people need to pull their heads out of the sand as well.

8. It’s estimated that up to a thousand people might be homeless on Maui on any given day. What do you think needs to be changed to help people get into housing, and stay housed?

Homelessness is a big issue on Maui. We need a facility to house the homeless. Somewhere where they can get a shower, and sleep. This facility will have resources to help them get back on their feet, and become functioning parts of society again. It needs to be done yesterday.

We also need to stop allowing other states to ship their homeless here. We need to take care of our own. Period.

9. Traffic is getting worse on the island of Maui, and different regions face different challenges. What would be your approach to improve Maui’s transportation problems?

We’re outnumbered here on Maui at any given time about 10-1 tourist-to-local. We need to diversify our economy so we are not so heavily reliant on tourism. Cutting back on tourism will not only give our infrastructure a break, it’ll give our entire ecosystem a break.

We need to let our islands, and our people breathe. Time to put Maui County first!

10. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed numerous flaws in Hawaii’s structure and systems, from outdated technology to economic disparity. If you could take this moment to reinvent Hawaii, to build on what we’ve learned and create a better state, a better way of doing things, what would you do? Please share One Big Idea you have for Maui County. Be innovative, but be specific.

The “pandemic” blew the lid off of the negligence and corruption that’s run our county and state for far too long. When I get in we’re going to clean house. Transparency and accountability will be two things we ensure up and down the board.

We need to work together to make our home food secure again. For the next round of “pandemics,” we need to have real doctors with morals find out every possible solution, and not rely on two things that don’t work. We’ll lay out all the options, and all the information so you and your families can make an informed decision. We will not close anyone down. We are all essential.

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