Lingle to inform citizens
of legislators’ voting habits

Some Democrats feel that her
threat is political intimidation

If Kauai Sen. Gary Hooser thinks Gov. Linda Lingle is watching how he votes, he's right.

Lingle said yesterday she is watching how all legislators vote during the final days of this legislative session, and she intends to use the information.

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Last Friday, before voting against two of Lingle's nominees to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, Hooser, a Democrat, complained that he had been threatened by an aide to Lingle, who said her supporters or Cabinet officials would be bringing up his vote in Rotary Club speeches in his district.

Hooser termed that a threat of political intimidation.

Lingle said she did not single Hooser out, "we told all legislators that," she said. "I made the point, I will be campaigning in the 2004 election even though I am not up for office.

"I will be traveling the state and letting citizens know which bills were voted on by their senators and representatives and which ones were in the public interest and which ones weren't," Lingle said.

Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa-Pupukea) said Lingle is not talking about the issues as much as she is getting back at a Democratic Legislature that did not approve all her bills.

"She is wanting to focus attention because she didn't get some things she wanted," Bunda said.

Lingle laughed and said that in previous years people equated political retribution to being told "you would destroy their business, and now they are worried that you will talk about them at the Rotary Club, but, yes, they can count on it."

Lingle, Hawaii's first Republican governor in 40 years, also plans a series of late summer or early fall statewide meetings with constituents to ask for advice on important issues for the 2004 legislative session.

Included on those "talk story" sessions, Lingle said, will be a chance for her to give her opinions on state issues and how lawmakers voted.

"We will be letting constituents in their districts know about it. If they are proud of how they voted, they wouldn't have any concern about it," Lingle said.

Bunda said: "Did she say she is going to target us? If she is going to be personally involved in every senator's election -- no problem."

Another Democrat, Sen. Cal Kawamoto, who represents the Waipahu area, said he wants Lingle to highlight his opposition to her regent nominees because they could not support the expansion of the University of Hawaii at West Oahu.

"Good, it will give us the publicity that we wanted. I want people to know I support West Oahu," Kawamoto said.

Lingle said she would be concerned about issues such as attempts to raise state taxes. "You know how I feel about some important issues, like tax increases, and I think it is important that the people know it," she said.

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