Lingle off to D.C. to
discuss long-term care

Gov. Linda Lingle planned to leave tonight for Washington, D.C., where she has a busy schedule of meetings next week with federal officials and several Republican senators and will participate in a National Governors Association conference on long-term care.

Lingle said she will also take time for a campaign fund-raiser on the East Coast.

Lingle said she will meet with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, whom she is encouraging to open a Pacific regional office for his agency in Hawaii and to help get a special "Hawaii-only" exemption to new stricter U.S. visa requirements for business travelers and students.

She will meet with White House officials, U.S. Department of Agriculture staff and several Republican senators she hopes to convince to support legislation leading to federal recognition of native Hawaiians.

Lingle said she will be attending the governors association's long-term care panel and chairing a special subcommittee on community-based long-term care.

Going with her will be Lillian Koller, director of the state Department of Human Services, and Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the state Department of Health, who will serve as staff for the subcommittee's work.

"This is a year-long effort by the NGA," she said while discussing her trip earlier this week.

"(Idaho Gov.) Dirk Kempthorne, our National Governors Association president, has made this his top priority ... which fits very well with the issue that we're trying to deal with here at home," Lingle said.

The conference will include a roundtable discussion on long-term care that will be broadcast nationally, she said.

Lingle said the fund-raiser will be in New Jersey.

"Wherever I travel there are groups who are interested in a Republican woman Jewish governor from Hawaii, either because they are a woman's group, a Jewish group or a Republican group," she said.

The governor will return to Hawaii on Friday, her office said.


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