Sunday, January 27, 2002

Donna Ikeda, bedecked in lei and surrounded by family, friends and supporters at the Queen Liliuokalani Building, announced yesterday her candidacy for lieutenant governor.

Ikeda to run
for lieutenant gov

Her campaign as a Democrat
will focus on education reforms

By Lisa Asato

Board of Education Vice Chairwoman and former state Sen. Donna Ikeda formally announced yesterday that she is running for lieutenant governor as a Democrat.

"I am running as the advocate for educational reform, and I will do whatever it takes to make this the issue above all others in the 2002 election," Ikeda said, reading from a prepared statement. "People who know me know that my will is strong enough, my sense of vision clear enough to get a job done when I can get a forum big enough to see it through."

Ikeda began her political career in 1975 when she was elected as a Republican to the state House of Representatives. She later switched to the Democratic Party and led the Senate Ways and Means Committee from 1993 to 1996.

The 62-year-old mother of three said if successful, she would ask to oversee the state's education system. She said public schools face "a myriad of problems," and wants to take the lead in bringing together the unions, teachers, lawmakers and administrators to "pull the focus together and ... determine what are our priorities," she said.

Ikeda made the announcement yesterday surrounded by family and friends on the steps of the Queen Liliuokalani Building, where the state Department of Education is located.

Other Democrats who have expressed interest in being lieutenant governor include Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairman Clayton Hee, state Sen. Ron Menor and City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura.

"I welcome Donna into the race," said Yoshimura, who confirmed he will seek the post but has not made a formal announcement. "I think the strength of the Democratic Party has always been the fact that we always have many qualified candidates to choose from, and the lieutenant governor's race is a good example of that."

Hee, who expects to announce his candidacy shortly, said he hopes even more candidates step into the ring "because it gives the people a better selection of candidates to choose from."

"I view her as a friend," said Hee, who describes his former colleague in the state House and Senate as "quite articulate and to the point."

Ikeda is the president of the consulting and lobbying firm D.R. Ikeda & Associates LLC. She said she will give up her seat on the Board of Education in July when she files candidacy papers.

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