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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 21, 2001

Lingle remains head of state GOP

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

In a move that most likely surprised no one, former Maui Mayor Linda Lingle was re-elected chairwoman of the state Republican Party yesterday.

Linda Lingle's bid for governor has galvanized Republicans.

Advertiser library photo • Sep. 25, 2000

"The biggest challenge and success of my first term was to blend the growth of new members with the core Republicans who have supported us for all these years," Lingle said. "Today, we are an open, dynamic and diverse group of individuals who all believe a strong, two-party system is critical if Hawai'i is to ever have confidence in its government again."

Officers were elected during the last day of the three-day State Republican convention on Maui.

Lingle has held the top spot in the party for the past two years.

Her nearly successful bid for governor two years ago galvanized state Republicans and, according to executive director Micah Kane, party membership has increased by 3,000 people under Lingle's leadership.

Lingle said the party also has 3,500 new contributors, not all of whom are party members.

Lingle wants to be governor and her party's goals also include taking a majority of the seats in the Legislature. The goal is not to displace the Democratic Party, she said, but to provide competition for it.

"Any time a party is in power for 40 years, it becomes the vote of the special interests, not the general population," she said. "It could happen with any party. Our platform is not to replace the Democratic Party as an overpowering force. We want to provide a balance. We think democracy works best that way."

The Republican platform also includes environment protection, local school boards instead of a state board, an elected state attorney general and a repeal of taxes on food and medicine, Lingle said.

Other officers elected during the convention were: Lynn Finnegan, a mortgage broker who was elected first vice-chair; Kevin Chong Kee, owner of an electrical contracting firm, second vice chair; Brennon Morioka, geotechnical engineer, third vice-chair; and Janice Pechauer, longtime party member, fourth vice chair.

Party secretary Sue Cantor and treasurer Linda Smith were also re-elected.