"Sorting people into political friends and enemies, or insiders and outsiders, has created a culture of mediocrity by discouraging public debate and excluding people who might otherwise contribute. Who you know became more important than what you know. As of this moment, anyone who cares about Hawaii and wants to contribute is a friend of this administration."
Gov. Linda Lingle
In her inauguration speech yesterday
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gov. Linda Lingle gave her inaugural address yesterday at the state Capitol courtyard. Lingle will start meeting today with House and Senate leaders to begin the transition from the Cayetano administration.
Hawaii nowGov. Linda Lingle starts meetings today with House and Senate leaders to begin mapping new state policies.
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Meanwhile, Lingle's new executive assistant, Bob Awana, is expected to call the temporary Cabinet together to work on a transition from the Cayetano to the Lingle administration.
Awana said he and Lingle will hold their first face-to-face meeting with the acting directors of every state department.
"We have selected in almost every department a civil service division head," Awana explained.
Lingle had said last week that she intended to replace all state Cabinet officers with new personnel.
Lingle is also planning meetings with legislative leaders today to start redrawing budget plans.
House Speaker Calvin Say (D, Palolo) said the budget submitted last week by former Gov. Ben Cayetano is now history.
"The proposals that the governor sent down are now out of the picture, the transfer of money from revolving funds and the hurricane relief funds," Say said.
But he added he still worries that the state will need extra money, and so far he does not see how Lingle will account for it.
The same sentiment was echoed by both Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa) and Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D, Manoa), Ways and Means Committee chairman.
While Bunda said he was "looking forward to finding what she thinks about balancing the budget," Taniguchi worries that the state is running at a slight deficit right now.
"If you look at the revenue picture, we will have a slight shortfall. ... When you add it up, it just doesn't come out," Taniguchi said.
Besides meeting with legislators and state bureaucrats, Lingle is also expected to complete work on three new appointments to her Cabinet, including possibly naming a new attorney general.
Lingle's inaugural address drew applause yesterday from both sides of the aisle.
"I was quite impressed with her speech," Bunda said. "It was very elegant."
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gov. Lingle was greeted by a supporter yesterday as she made her way in a procession during her inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol courtyard.
Perhaps the most dramatic shift in state policy came when Lingle said the state will be sensitive to business and will have a new respect for businesses.
"Our government is very heavy-handed, and I am determined to change that," Lingle said. "This has given our state an anti-business reputation that has scared away investors and entrepreneurs. I am determined to change this image."
"The open-for-business sign has now been turned on," the new governor said.
For restaurateur and Lingle supporter Eddie Flores, the words were welcome.
"I think it will be a more business-friendly administration.
"She mentioned retraining employees to be more friendly. You go down to any state office and try to talk to any of the workers, and it is pretty difficult," Flores said.
A labor group that did not support Lingle, the teachers union, is waiting to see how Lingle deals with the state budget and support for teachers, but Karen Ginoza, Hawaii State Teachers Association executive director, said she is optimistic.
"I am hopeful she will use the office. She talks about charter schools, and they haven't had the support they need, so I hope we can start together with the governor and find common ground," Ginoza said.
During her speech, Lingle said she would work with "those courageous parents and teachers who have worked so hard to establish charter schools in Hawaii."
Lingle's victory over her Democratic opponent, former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, means a shift in state policies, but Lingle said she wants the state to know she does not intend to be partisan.
"Sorting people into political friends and enemies, or insiders and outsiders, has created a culture of mediocrity by discouraging public debate and excluding people who might otherwise contribute," Lingle said.
"Who you know became more important than what you know.
"As of this moment, anyone who cares about Hawaii and wants to contribute is a friend of this administration," Lingle said.
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