Democrats say Lingle’s
platform lacks substance

By Richard Borreca

Democratic opponents of Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle said her campaign platform was vague and in many areas did not go far enough.

Rep. Ed Case (D, Manoa) called Lingle's platform a "mixture of fluff, substance and outright avoidance."

For instance, Case said, Lingle avoided discussing how she would balance the budget next year.

"Either she is simply naive and doesn't understand the state's fiscal situation or has chosen not to face it," Case said.

Yesterday, Lingle called a news conference to unveil a platform calling for tax cuts on food and medicine, encouraging private long-term care insurance and health coverage for part-time workers with state tax cuts and emphasizing renewable energy.

She also called for a Pacific Region for the national Department of Homeland Security to be based in Honolulu, and she urged that pay for local police officers be comparable with mainland jurisdictions.

Lingle acknowledged that one of the reasons she drafted the platform was to avoid criticism she ran into four years ago.

"We had a good plan in 1998, but we didn't put it into one written document, so it was an issue in 1998," Lingle said.

Another Democrat, D.G. "Andy" Anderson, says Lingle's proposed tax cuts won't add up.

"The meat -- the required tax dollars to implement these ideas -- is missing. She ignores the funding for all her proposals; thus it's all promises and nothing else," Anderson said.

Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, who is also running for governor as a Democrat, said much of what Lingle was proposing were "things that I have been working on."

But Hirono added that Lingle's plan does nothing to address the state's high gasoline prices with rate regulation.

Lingle said she wanted to open up competition by making it easier for more gasoline stations to operate, but Hirono said the Legislature's call for rate regulation was the only way to ensure that Hawaii's high prices would be curbed.

"I don't think our consumers should be gouged; consumers should be protected," Hirono said.

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