Happened To...

An update on past news

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Former Lt. Gov. Doi
still talking about politics
in his retirement

Question: Whatever happened to former Lt. Gov. Nelson Doi?

Answer: Doi, 81, who served as lieutenant governor from 1974 to 1978, spoke to a combined meeting of the South Hilo and Hilo Bay Rotary Clubs earlier this month. He was as blunt as he was in earlier decades.

Noting that Honolulu bus drivers earn more than teachers, he said, "Our values are screwed."

Regarding a luxury Kona subdivision on agricultural land: "Judge (Ronald) Ibarra did the right thing" when he halted construction there. Government officials had generally been "indulging" developers, he said, and "it had to stop."

He also questioned Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to decentralize control of schools.

"Don't think just because you say 'decentralize' it's going to be good."

Doi, a Democrat, was elected to a state constitutional convention in 1950, served for 14 years as a state senator starting in 1955 and served five years as a Circuit Court judge starting in 1969.

After serving as lieutenant governor, he served on the High Court in the Marshall Islands and taught in Japan. His biggest accomplishment after retiring to his home in Waimea in North Hawaii in the mid-1980s was lobbying the Legislature for money for the public-private partnership that built the North Hawaii Community Hospital, he said.

Citizens need to become more active in politics, Doi said. "If we don't, America is going to become a second-rate country."

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