Lingle deserves a second term to lead Hawaii
The governor is facing Randy Iwase in the general election.
DEMOCRAT Randy Iwase appropriately wears the cloak of underdog in his attempt to unseat a well-financed, articulate and politically savvy governor.
The mantle suits the man who arrived late to the campaign, who has not held public office for six years and whose stints in the state Legislature and City Council were relatively unremarkable.
Yet when more prominent Democrats declined to answer the party's call to take on the formidable Gov. Linda Lingle, Iwase had the guts to step forward. As the underdog, Iwase's strategy has been more about running against Lingle than running for the office itself. In reacting rather than initiating, the raison d'etre of his campaign remains unclear. Because of this, judging whether he would be a good governor is difficult.
Lingle has proven she can get things done and though Democratic lawmakers and others dispute her claims of success, clearly she has acted as a leader and has been a catalyst for change, provoking action on several issues that needed attention.
Lingle has earned a second term. The Star-Bulletin chooses her to lead Hawaii for four more years.
Under her administration, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has sprinted forward where for decades it had languished. Directed by the astute and resourceful Micah Kane, the agency has placed more Hawaiians on residential leases than had been done in more than a decade.
Though Lingle has not yet met her goal of distributing homestead land to everyone holding a legal right, as she had pledged in her "Agenda for a New Beginning," the gains the department has made are significant and its approach of linking homes to commercial development and educational facilities makes good sense in forming livable communities.
Lingle hasn't been able to decentralize the public school system as she proposed, but in injecting her views into the discussion she was able to shake the Legislature and the Department of Education from the rooted practices of the past.
The governor has been skillful enough to find allies among opposition party members to increase deductions for taxpayers, help more low-income residents get medical care and increase funding for early childhood education.
An issue of critical importance in the coming years will be to free Hawaii from dependence on oil as our chief source of energy. To begin this effort, Lingle enlisted like-minded legislators as well as environmental advocacy groups to put together an energy package that points the state toward greater self-sufficiency.
As a Republican, the governor has provided a balance to the Democratic-dominated Legislature. The political tension has produced a wider conference for ideas and solutions, much to Hawaii's benefit.