By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Gov. Ben Cayetano and his wife, Vicky, shake
hands with supporters at a campaign rally held at
Kapalama Elementary School in Kalihi last night.
Cayetano with pizazz
ELECTION SPECIAL SECTIONBy Craig Gima
It was a homecoming crowd -- the Farrington High School band played the alma mater and many dressed in the school colors of maroon and white to welcome Gov. Ben Cayetano, class of '58, back to Kalihi.
Cayetano said it is a tradition for him to hold a rally in the neighborhood where he grew up -- to give a boost to the troops and to himself.
"I always do this before the election, maybe a week before the election," Cayetano said. "I always come home to get the feeling, you know. That's what we did tonight."
Last night's rally at Kapalama Elementary School was organized by a group of Cayetano's high school classmates called "Farringtonians and Friends for Ben".
Cayetano, with his wife, Vicky, by his side and other Democratic politicians in the audience, got the biggest response from his speech when he talked about the uphill battle he faces in the general election.
"This is going to be one big fight," he told the crowd. "But the one thing that we Kalihi people know, we know how to fight."
They served about 750 plates of stew and rice and held lucky number drawings for bags of rice, cases of soda, even a color television set.
It was an old-time rally and Cayetano paid tribute to former Gov. John Burns and other politicians who led the Democratic revolution in the 1950s.
"I would not be standing here, the first governor of Filipino ancestry if it were not for them," he said.
In the speech, Cayetano skipped references to his accomplishments and focused on the campaign's theme of traditional democratic values.
"These folks, a lot of it is in the heart -- values, trust, integrity, hard work -- all of that means more to them than the other kinds of issues, which they know will change as circumstances change. That's why tonight I didn't speak about the economy," he said as he shook hands and posed for pictures with supporters after the speech.
Students from the band also posed for a picture and were excited to learn Cayetano played the clarinet while in high school.
"I always see him on TV. It was fun," said Dino Gonzales. "It was like talking to a friend because he used to play in our band, too."