Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Gov. Linda Lingle talked to reporters yesterday in the Capitol courtyard. They both posed for pictures and signed autographs after the inauguration ceremony.


Linda Lingle caps off a whirlwind
first day as governor

Hawaii now "open for business"
Inauguration goes off without a hitch
Baptiste is sworn in as Kauai mayor

By Pat Omandam

Like any proud father, Richard Cutter fought back tears yesterday as he watched his daughter become the state's first female governor.

But he was never surprised at what Linda Lingle could accomplish for others.

"From when she was a child, she always wanted to help people," said Cutter, who openly wept as Lingle was being sworn in as the state's first Republican governor in 40 years.

"She's worked hard and she's accomplished a lot, and all she dreams about is helping the people of Hawaii. ... She's just a unique person, and there's a lot of people like that around. You just have to find them," he said.

Said Gov. Linda Lingle: "My dad used to tell me, 'Lin, you can't save the world.'

"But I think he knows now you can't change the world, so, well, maybe we can just change our own little part of the world," she said.

Lingle, 49, and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, 47, pledged change in state government during a whirlwind list of inauguration events that concludes this evening with a public event at Magic Island at 5:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at 7:25 p.m. The 4,000 tickets for the event already have been distributed.

They began yesterday with their families and friends watching a short parade that passed through the Iolani Palace grounds. While thousands waited nearby at the state Capitol, a few hundred gathered near the palace for an early chance to meet and greet Lingle, and many did.

"God bless you in your work," Albert Moniz told Lingle. The North Shore resident had never met her but felt it was important to show up for her inauguration.

"I believe in her. She brings a sense of dignity and honor to this office that I think is long overdue," Moniz said.

Linda Lingle's inauguration brought tears of joy to her father, Richard Cutter, yesterday.

Bob and Kathy Hartman, of Lahaina, flew in from Maui just for the event and briefly spoke with Lingle yesterday.

Bob Hartman, whom Lingle appointed to the Maui Liquor Commission while she served as Maui mayor in the mid-1990s, said the two are also old swimming partners.

"We were so proud of her, we really couldn't put it into words," he said.

Hartman said Lingle will make a great governor and will accomplish most of the goals she sets. Many people on Maui share pride in her inauguration, he said.

"I think most people I talked to are ready for something new," Hartman said.

It was a new feeling for Republican state Sen. Sam Slom (Hawaii Kai), who told Lingle during the parade to remain focused on her goals. Slom also congratulated Cutter on his daughter's achievements.

"It was the first time I ever kissed a governor," Slom joked afterward.

Fred Strache, a retired administrator from California State University-Northridge, Lingle's alma mater, briefly spoke to her after the parade and before the procession to the state Capitol.

The Malibu resident, who is in Hawaii for four months, did not know Lingle while she attended the university, but still wanted to wish the alumna good luck. Alumni at the university are pulling for her, he said.

"I'm very proud of her," Strache said. "She's done a great job getting elected."

Shortly after 11 a.m. yesterday, Lingle and Aiona led a procession lined by military personnel from the palace to the Capitol. They were greeted with a thunderous ovation after presenting leis at the Queen Liliuokalani statue.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Gov. Linda Lingle were greeted last night by their supporters at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel during the Inagural Ball.

More applause followed after Lingle and Aiona arrived onstage and after they were sworn in. Lingle opened up her speech with a lighthearted comment about the results of her second biopsy last week, which was negative for breast cancer.

She quipped that since the entire state knows about her anatomy, it is time to get on to public policy.

"I tell you, last week, when the health issue arose the way it did, it kind of took a little bit of attention away from the inauguration.

"Maybe it was a good thing, because I didn't think about it too much," Lingle explained after the ceremony.

Lingle and Aiona spent the next hour greeting people in the Capitol courtyard. They posed for pictures, signed autographs and hugged supporters and campaign staff.

The new governor was greeted by four of Hawaii's former governors: William Quinn, George Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Ben Cayetano. They posed for a group picture before Lingle was pulled back into the crowd of well-wishers.

Lingle then held a public reception at the Governor's Office on the fifth floor which ended about 2:30 p.m.

"We just feel humbled that the people have given us this opportunity to go out now and make this great state even greater," she said.

At about 4:30 p.m., Lingle met with legislative leaders, family members and friends during a private reception at Washington Place. She then left to attend a 6 p.m. inauguration dinner-dance at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Summing up the day, Cutter said Hawaii is in good hands.

"This is the best governor they could have ever had, ever had. ... She'll do well, plus her heart's in it," he said.

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