Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Acting governor
has plans of his own

With Lingle traveling, Bennett
whimsically advocates a
new state bird and fish

Hawaii has a new acting governor with a new acting agenda.

For the next nine days Attorney General Mark Bennett will be acting governor while Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona are on the mainland to attend the Republican National Convention in New York City. Lingle returns Sept. 3.

State of Hawaii Bennett, a former private attorney and federal prosecutor who is a dedicated New York Yankees fan, said yesterday he has some things he wants to take care of while he is in charge.

First on his agenda is to give the baseball team some recognition.

"I am certain, because of the historically close relationship between the state of Hawaii and the New York Yankees, I plan on declaring one day New York Yankee Day," Bennett announced.

No. 2 on Bennett's list is the state bird, the nene goose.

Bennett said while he has "utmost respect for the nene, I have always liked the kolea bird, which flies thousands of millions to come to Hawaii every year."

"So I may appoint a state bird revenue commission to investigate the issue," Bennett said.

And finally, Bennett, noting that he is an attorney and has some concerns about the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, "as a lawyer, I've been thinking either the shark or the barracuda might be more appropriate."

Bennett, who admits his "agenda" is for laughs and not to be taken seriously, will be assisted by Bob Awana, Lingle's chief of staff, who is not going with the GOP delegation to New York.

Bennett said he has cleared his AG calendar to handle the duties of the governor's office until Sept. 3.

"The state couldn't be in better hands," Lingle said. "He is well briefed and I will be in daily communication with my chief of staff and the acting governor."

Lingle noted that Bennett was upset to learn that while she was gone he would have a security guard with him.

"He said he wasn't used to having a security detail and he said he wasn't looking forward to it," Lingle said.

Lingle told Bennett that her security officers were going to inform him that they are used to having the governor buy them a good lunch and dinner every day.

"And not from some drive-in either," Lingle joked.

Office of the Governor


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