Lingle shines in convention and at home
Pride is what many of us felt as we watched Gov. Linda Lingle on national television speak eloquently about the challenges and responsibilities of being a mayor and governor.
She stood in the limelight, watched by millions of Americans, and explained in clear, common-sense language what it means to be the chief executive of a city and state. She told us how mayors and governors like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin must make decisions every single day that affect the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.
Governor Lingle reminded America that governors must confront emergencies, balance budgets, command the National Guard and manage natural resources. And, as Palin has also shown, many must also raise families and handle real-life issues that folks throughout the United States confront every day.
That is why Hawaii Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser's claim that our governor is "out of touch" rings hollow (Capitol Viewpoint, Star-Bulletin, Sept. 7). Calling Governor Lingle out of touch is as ridiculous as claiming that Hooser cares about what is happening in state government. It just isn't true. Hooser has never once met with the governor to craft meaningful legislation.
Even members of his own party and from his own island recognize the importance of working cooperatively with the executive branch to produce positive results for the public.
Kauai Rep. Roland Sagum, a Democrat, last week praised Governor Lingle for working with him to identify additional funds to upgrade Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor. Sagum said, "The governor didn't have to do that, but because she loves Kauai and was concerned that the boat harbor would not be usable even after all this work ... she was able to find the funds and make the project complete. That was huge for the governor to do that. She's done so much for Kauai. (She's) done so much for our people."
Hooser forgets that the vast majority of Hawaii residents (63 percent) voted for Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona in the last election, and they won every district throughout our state, including Hooser's island of Kauai.
The Lingle-Aiona administration continues to enjoy high approval ratings after more than six years in office precisely because of their proven record of accomplishments and their willingness to put the state's interests first, unlike Hooser who cares more about his political party. Let me highlight a few examples:
Today, Hawaii's residents have $218 million more to spend on food, gasoline and housing because our governor insisted on changing the income tax law and rebating money to working families. Hooser supported a miserly $1 "refund" to Hawaii taxpayers, and he probably would not have even voted for that amount had the Constitution not required a refund.
Today, businesses of all sizes can look forward to $151 million in savings over the next three years because the governor succeeded in cutting unemployment insurance taxes. In addition, under the Lingle-Aiona administration's leadership, the state has saved Hawaii businesses and licensed professionals $45 million by waiving fees and assessments.
Today, 2,250 more Hawaiian families have homestead leases than they did five years ago. Compare this to the paltry approval rate averaging 70 leases per year during the 80 prior years, when Hooser's party was in charge.
Today, there is a safe, clean, reliable ferry that delivers cargo and passengers daily to Maui, providing an important transportation alternative at reasonable prices. Next year, the Superferry will also serve the Big Island. Gary Hooser stood in the way of providing this service to the people of Kauai and our state.
Today, the single largest national marine sanctuary in the U.S. exists because of the solid working relationship Lingle has at the national level. Hooser was missing in action on this important cultural and environmental issue.
Today, Hawaii has shown tremendous progress in lifting families out of poverty, and ranks among only 12 states that saw decreases in poverty last year. Hooser and his Democratic colleagues refuse to release $28 million in federal funds that could provide temporary relief for more needy families and help prevent them from slipping into poverty.
Governor Lingle spoke up in support of Sen. John McCain and Palin because she knows that experience, wisdom, courage and the willingness to put country above political party are the character traits Americans expect and need in their next president and vice president.
Lingle and Aiona respect the voters and want them to have the facts about the top people heading the Republican ticket. These facts include an incomparable, distinguished war record, a willingness to root out corruption in Alaska and in Congress, opposition to wasteful spending of tax dollars and a knowledge that partisan politics should not play a role in solving our country's problems.
As Governor Lingle so aptly puts it, McCain does more than "reach across the aisle" - "he walks across the aisle" to gets things done. Hooser sits on his side of the aisle and continues to toe the party line, even when it is not in the best interest of his constituents.
Unfortunately, Gary Hooser sees the world from his petty, partisan, vitriolic perspective. He is doing a disservice to his party and his candidate, and more importantly he is not serving the people of Kauai or our state. The voters want "straight talk" and that is what our governor and her candidate, John McCain, are giving every day.
Lenny Klompus is Gov. Linda Lingle's senior communications adviser.