Aiona States His Case For Governor

Last Tuesday night, 75 faithful Republicans gathered in Hawaii Kai’s Kamiloiki Elementary School cafeteria to hear their party’s candidate for governor. Considering that Hawaii Kai is Oahu’s most Republican community, it was a small crowd. But it was a week-night. Many of those seated at the back-breaking cafeteria tables had come directly from work. Some brought their children with them, schoolbags in hand.

Christian Radio’s Dawn O’Brien introduced the elected Republicans in attendance. Republican lieutenant governor nominee Lynn Finnegan rose to explain why she had given up a safe state House seat to run for LG: “I saw the opportunity in Duke Aiona to put a wonderful man of character in the governorship, so I was willing to put everything on the line to create the strongest Republican ticket.”

Following a short video profile that had appeared on network television,Aiona took the microphone. The part-Hawaiian lieutenant governor is a handsome man, and with Filipina Finnegan as his running mate the Republicans have a stunning-looking and, more important, ethnically balanced ticket.

Aiona spoke with both passion and conviction – if, at times, elliptically: “Often voters say that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats. But in this campaign the contrast between Neil Abercrombie and me is stark. It’s about balance. Hawaii’s Legislature is 90 percent Democrats. Nationally, the Democrats control both the legislature and the executive, and our $14 trillion national debt was caused by one-party domination.”

He went after his opponent. “Neil Abercrombie lists himself as ‘a professional politician.’I was a lawyer for eight years, a judge for 12, and lieutenant governor for eight. When I make a decision, I look at the pros and cons of the argument, and analyze impartially and objectively, and decide on the basis of what’s best for the people. My opponent is someone who makes decisions with his eye on the next election … My opponent is from the District of Columbia, where they’re not required to balance the budget … and he’s bringing Obama politics to Hawaii.”

Citing Abercrombie’s campaign platform, “A New Day in Hawaii,” Aiona said that the Democratic nominee “is going to grow government.”According to Aiona, Lingle and he had dealt successfully with a $2 billion budget gap in the economic downturn of 2008 to 2010. “When I’m sworn in as governor on Dec. 4, I know how to deal with the budget. There will be no more furloughs, and I will not add two more state programs as my opponent suggests.”

Aiona finished on the topic of civil unions, decrying the emotion that had surrounded the debate. Proponents of the civil unions bill had claimed that it was a civil rights issue and that the bill’s opponents were guilty of bigotry. “HB 444,” said Aiona, “was in reality all about same-sex marriage.” If elected, he would put an end to the discussion by submitting a bill to the people that would ask a “yes” or “no” vote on the proposition that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The evening ended with a few questions from the audience: on a four-day, 40-hour workweek, Aiona has seen promise in state pilot projects; about rail transit, if it’s not financially feasible, Aiona said he wouldn’t approve it.

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