Democrats boost local inaugural ball


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

Three former Hawaii first ladies are pooling their efforts to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Hawaii.

“;Historically, the first families have always come together for every important cultural and historical event, and I think this event is no exception,”; said Jean Ariyoshi, wife of former Gov. George Ariyoshi.

Ariyoshi joined former first ladies Vicky Cayetano and Lynne Waihee at a news conference yesterday to promote the upcoming Aloha Inaugural Ball at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Organizers say there are about 200 tickets left for the event, which marks Obama's inauguration and the reopening of the Royal Hawaiian, which has been closed since June for renovations.

The event, a fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Hawaii, will feature entertainment by Willie K as well as the debut of a nine-member band comprised of Hawaii musicians calling itself the Aloha Obama Yes, We Can Band. Emme Tomimbang, one of the event's coordinators, would not name the musicians, saying it was a surprise for partygoers, but noted that the musicians are Hoku Award and Hawaiian Grammy nominees.

“;I had the privilege of sharing this with the president-elect,”; she said, “;and he said, 'I want to know who they are. They'd better represent me well.'”;

Organizers plan to feature videotaped highlights of the events in Washington, D.C., that will take place hours earlier. They also are hoping to have Obama deliver a videotaped message to the crowd.

Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz said a request has been made to Obama's office, but officials had not yet heard whether Obama will be available to tape a message.

Planners expect about 600 people. Tickets are $250 each ($1,000 for VIP tickets) and can be obtained by contacting the state Democratic Party at 596-2980 or