General Session II
2:25 PM - 3:05 PM Sat
Richard T. Bissen Jr. (Rick) is a leader who uses his intelligence and his heart to serve, protect and preserve his community and home. He is a member of the Hale Mua cultural group, the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Kahekili Chapter IV. Rick is a recently retired Second Circuit Court Judge whose intentions are to continue to better Maui County as its Mayor. Richard’s accolades presented throughout his 16 years on the bench justify his intentions.
After receiving the 2021 Jurist of the Year Award from Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald in October, it was announced that December 30th is to be Chief Judge Richard T. Bissen Jr. Day in state courts. Recktenwald proclaimed Richard to be of the “highest integrity” as a judge. Second Court Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza has also noted his character saying, “As soon as he was on the bench, he displayed all the critical skills of a successful judge — and communication was clearly one of his many skills. I was always impressed that he had an understanding as well as respect for the human condition. He understood people would have challenges in life. He had a way of communicating that to try to steer people in the right direction.”
Richard has been married to his wife Isabella for 30 years. With three daughters and three grandsons, ohana is the foundation for all Richard does. After graduating St. Anthony High School in Wailuku in 1979, he attended the University of Santa Clara where he graduated with his B.S. in Political Science. He then moved on to receive his JD degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. During law school Rick was a member of the American Inn's of Court and served as President of the 'Ahahui O Hawai'i organization. In 1992 he was selected as one of four young people in the state to the Hawai'i Rotary Clubs Group Study Exchange Team that traveled to the Maritime Provinces of Canada for six weeks as goodwill ambassadors.
The issues at the focus of Richard’s movement are derived from the experience and knowledge he has gained throughout his career. He was a member of the Statewide Violence Against Women planning committee in the late 90's and has been an Instructor at the National Advocacy Center's Prosecutor's training facility on numerous ocassions in Columbia, South Carolina. He produced a series of crime prevention videos and has been a speaker at schools, community organizations, conferences and conventions statewide on the Importance of Parenting. He has served as a member, director or officer with the Punana Leo O Maui Advisory Committee, Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus Advisory Committee, and the Pa'ia Elementary School, Lihikai Elementary School and Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus Parent Teacher Associations. Additionally, he has served as the Acting Director of the Department of Public Safety, the Board of Directors for the Maui United Way, Maui Memorial Medical Center Regional Board of Directors, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Maui Chapter.
Rick was a founding member of the Maui Drug Court Program in 2000 and a past member of the Hawai'i Juvenile Justice State Advisory Committee from 2003-2011. He has served as vice president of a non-profit organization overseeing federal monies for a mentoring program designed for young Hawaiian men on Maui and on the Hui O Wa'a Kaulua board of
In October 1999 he received the Distinguished Citizen Award presented by the Men's March Against Violence Committee in Honolulu. In 2001 he was inducted into the St. Anthony High School Alumni Hall of Fame for his Community Service on Maui and that same year was selected the 2001 Maui County Lawyer of the Year by the Maui County Bar Association. In September 2013 he became the first neighbor island alumnus to receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the William S. Richardson School of Law in Manoa.