Masons union endorses governor
Gov. Linda Lingle is picking up new labor support, with the 1,800-member Hawaii masons union endorsing her re-election.
At ceremonies at the Kalihi union headquarters yesterday, Lingle said her campaign is "reaching out to different unions to seek their support."
Lingle officially launched her campaign Sunday with the opening of a Kapiolani Boulevard campaign headquarters.
Noland Moriwake, business manager and financial secretary of the masons, called Lingle "the people's governor."
"She is someone you can count on to stand up for Hawaii's working families," he said.
Asked if it was unusual for a labor union that historically endorses Democrats to support a Republican, Moriwake said he made his decision after seeing Lingle's efforts to help the homeless along the Leeward coast.
"The Waianae incident with the homeless was it. At the last minute, boom, she came up with ideas, and I said, 'Wow, I take my hat off to her,'" Moriwake said.
Lingle has had a good relationship with the masons union and had named Moriwake as one of 31 members of a "economic momentum commission" last year.
Four years ago, Lingle won the endorsement of both the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. Her opponent, former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, had the backing of the state's largest unions, including the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
SHOPO and UHPA have not yet made any union endorsements.
The labor union endorsement, Lingle said, cannot be considered a change in the politics of a union, but rather a new relationship with union leaders.
Asked if she thought the endorsement would mean other GOP candidates would be endorsed, Lingle said, "I am not certain that would occur."
"When a union makes an endorsement like this, especially for a party that is not their usual party to endorse, it takes a while to build a relationship and trust.
"Even if they know I can't agree on everything, they know I am open and accessible and they can come in to talk about their issues," Lingle said.
In other campaign news yesterday, Lingle announced that she and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona will halt their weekly radio shows until after the election.
Aiona's last appearance was yesterday, and Lingle will make her last broadcast on radio station KHVH-830 AM tomorrow.
In January, Lingle and Aiona said they would not participate in any government-sponsored or nonprofit public service announcements during the election period.