Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, August 23, 1999

Cayetano may
write book on isle
politics in future

Although Gov. Ben Cayetano says he won't run for another elected office once his term is up in 2002, he may dabble in politics.

Cayetano, who told Star-Bulletin editors he has no thoughts about any ambassadorship under a possible Gore administration, said he might become an author.

"I'd like to write a book about Hawaii politics," he said. "There's so much that I've seen."

And despite consecutive terms dealing with a slowing state economy, Cayetano believes his successor will be better off because government will be more efficient and the economy will be on the upswing.

"I'm glad I'm governor. I wouldn't want anybody else to have this job right now. And in looking back, I think it's almost fate that I have this job when the times are tough rather than the times when we have a lot of money."

Won't run: Former Hawaiian Homes Chairman Kali Watson said he doesn't plan to run as a trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. But it looks like he may extend his contract as a legal counsel for the OHA board.

Watson, speaking to the OHA Salary Commission last week, argued for more pay for trustees as an incentive to attract top Hawaiian leaders to the agency. But he prefaced his remarks by saying he does not intend to run for the board -- avoiding any possible conflict of interest.

OHA Chairwoman Rowena Akana last week said the board will likely extend Watson's one-year contract that began this past January. And former state Sen. Malama Solomon may join the Hawaiian agency as it establishes a federal desk in Washington, D.C., she said.

Akana said the $50,000 to $60,000 a year post is needed to monitor legislation in Congress that could help native Hawaiians, as well as to keep tabs on the Rice vs. Cayetano appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

OHA advertised the job last month. The hiring does not need board approval because it falls under the purview of OHA Administrator Randy Ogata, Akana said.

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