Lieutenant governors
will meet on Oahu

More than 100 people representing about 20 states and various Pacific Rim regions are converging on Honolulu this week for the National Lieutenant Governors Association annual conference.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona says the conference gives attendees a chance to share both their experiences as their state's second-in-command and their expertise in various aspects of government.

"I think we have tremendous expertise in homeland security," Aiona said. "With the military presence here in the Pacific and how we operate here, I think that will give them a tremendous perspective in regards to, one, the threat of terror here in the Pacific, and also how the military presence can really assist and benefit -- and also be a detriment -- to a state."

Aiona said the annual conference typically draws representatives from about 30 states and U.S. territories, including American Samoa and Guam. Eight states do not have lieutenant governors.

The conference has drawn little scrutiny, unlike last week's gathering of the National Association of Counties.

Members of that Washington, D.C.-based organization came under heavy scrutiny and public criticism in their communities after it was learned they would be attending their annual conference in Hawaii on taxpayer dollars. Some cut short their trips or canceled them altogether.

Aiona said he was unaware of any officials who would not be attending because of negative publicity.

The conference opens today and runs through Saturday.

Speakers for the event include Gov. Linda Lingle; national drug czar John Walters, director of the White House Drug Control Office; Dr. Charles Morrison, president of East-West Center; and a representative from U.S. Pacific Command.

National Lieutenant Governors Association

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