Sunday, August 19, 2001

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OHA’s Stender
ponders political bid

The trustee considers making a
run for lieutenant governor

By Rod Antone

Governor Linda Lingle and Lieutenant Governor Oswald Stender.

"I like the sound of that," said Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Stender as he confirmed he is considering running for lieutenant governor as a Republican.

The former Bishop Estate trustee said there is a 50-50 chance that he will run for the office in 2002. However, Stender said he wants to consult with a "focus" group of friends before making anything official.

"I've never run for political office and this would be something very new to me," he said. "The closest thing was OHA and that was a slam dunk."

Stender's name recognition from his role in trying to reform the Bishop Estate helped him garner 74,960 votes for the at-large OHA seat. Fellow OHA trustee Clayton Hee, who is considering a run for lieutenant governor as a Democrat, got the highest total in the OHA special election with 156,816 votes.

Stender joins a number of Republicans looking at the second spot on the GOP ticket including Sen. Bob Hogue (R, Enchanted Lake) and Reps. Charles Djou (R, Kaneohe) and David Pendleton (R, Maunawili).

"I have the utmost respect for Oswald and think he would be an outstanding candidate," said Hogue.

"I actually haven't decided for sure what I'll be doing yet. Though I have been approached to consider running for lieutenant governor, a few people have also approached me to run for Honolulu mayor."

Stender said the lieutenant governor idea came mostly from legislators, who urged him to run in order to have more say on issues that were important to him.

"When I complain about something, they say why don't you run for L.G.," said Stender, who explained that he was always at the Capitol talking about the issue of ceded lands.

"If there's anything that needs to be addressed it's that," Stender said. "It's been 20 years now and no one has resolved that problem.

"It was the main reason I ran for OHA and maybe by being in administration I can get something done."

Stender does have some reservations about entering the race.

"Politics takes a lot of commitment, and I'm nearly 70 years old," Stender said. "But it would be a cap on your life to do something like that."

"I really must consider everything before I make any decisions. I'll know for sure by the end of the week."

GOP gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle has said that she preferred not to name who she would and would not like have as her running mate in 2002. Lingle could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Democrats who have made their intentions to run for the second-highest state office known include Honolulu City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura, fellow councilman John DeSoto, OHA Trustee Clayton Hee, State Sen. Avery Chumbley (D, East Maui-North Kauai), Sen. Ron Menor (D, Mililani), and Sen. Matt Matsunaga (D, Waialae).

"Obviously with no incumbent in the race it will be a crowded field, and it's not surprising to see so many high profile people from the community come forward," said Chumbley. "I think it's very exciting because it shows that there is a wind of change in the community and that people want something different."

"Honestly though I don't think everyone will still be around when it comes to primary day."

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

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