By Susan Roth
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON Hawaii Republicans are preparing to party this weekend, but inaugural week has been all business as they attended national party meetings here.
And with a Republican entering the White House for the first time in eight years, GOP spirits are high despite the cold, wet weather for those here from the Islands and members of a local halau who will represent the state in todays inaugural parade.
Top party members arrived here Wednesday for strategy meetings of the Republican National Committee that ended late Thursday. And actually, their networking continued at receptions and other events yesterday and today, including the inaugural ball.
"This week was very much a working week for us," said Micah Kane, the partys executive director. "We had goals we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to tell the national party what kind of success we had in the election, and weve met with people close to the Bush administration."
Hawaii GOP Chairwoman Linda Lingle was to meet with Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, to talk about her 2002 gubernatorial bid and party-building efforts in Hawaii. Tomorrow, she hopes to meet with Karl Rove, top political adviser to President-elect Bush.
Lingle, Kane and more than 50 people from Hawaii who are connected with the state party plan to attend the inaugural, though not all will go to the parade if the weather is bad. Likewise, Hawaii Sens. Dan Inouye and Daniel Akaka, and Rep. Patsy Mink, all Democrats, plan to attend only the ceremony, where they will have seats of honor behind the podium. Hawaiis other House member, Democrat Neil Abercrombie, will not attend; he is in Hawaii.
"Its my first inaugural experience, and Im very excited," Kane said. But he admitted he is worried about the weather. "I had to circle the family and borrow everything warm that I could."
Dwayne Ikaika, leader of the Halau Hoomau I Ka Wai Ola O Hawaii made up of Washington-area residents with varied connections to Hawaii said the 45 members marching in the parade are excited and prepared for the weather.
Temperatures in the low 30s are expected, with a raw drizzle forecast for most of the day.
Under their muumuu, holok¬ and other traditional costumes, theyll be wearing matching turtleneck sweaters and thermal underwear, Ikaika said.
"Im more worried about our dancers hearing our music," he said, referring to the group being sandwiched between two marching bands.
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