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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Bush adviser promotes Lingle candidacy

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

Karen Hughes, a top adviser to President Bush, insists that Hawai'i's best interest is to have Republican Linda Lingle as its next governor.

Karen Hughes is among the Bush administration officials on the campaign trail supporting GOP gubernatorial and congressional candidates.

Associated Press library photo

She would be an effective voice for Hawai'i with the Republican administration and would immediately attract attention in Washington, D.C., Hughes said during an interview yesterday.

"Washington would take notice. It would be viewed as a major event," Hughes said.

Lingle likely would visit the nation's capital early in her administration and would attract attention because "people would want to find out just who is this woman who was able to make history and convince her fellow Hawaiians to elect her as governor, despite the strong Democratic tradition of that state," she said.

Hughes is among the Bush administration officials on the campaign trail supporting GOP gubernatorial and congressional candidates.

She spoke to a group of professional women in Waikiki yesterday morning and was featured at a cocktail reception and a private dinner last night — all fund-raising events for the Hawai'i Republican Party.

Her visit comes the same week the Democratic Party is bringing in former President Bill Clinton to support Lingle's opponent, Mazie Hirono.

Hughes countered comments made yesterday by Native Hawaiian advocates Clayton Hee, Bill Meheula and former state Supreme Court associate justice Robert Klein that Lingle as governor would be ineffective in promoting Hawaiian issues, such as the Akaka Bill for federal recognition for Hawaiians. "I think the reverse is true," she said. "The status quo has resulted in a failure of Washington to hear much about the issues of Native Hawaiians."

Hughes said Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton has written to Lingle and indicated she wants to discuss Hawaiian issues "and I can't think of anyone better to bring those issues to the attention of the Bush administration than a Republican woman."

Hughes said that during her short stay in Hawai'i, she has heard the concerns of business people "about the harmful effect to Hawai'i's economy because of corruption in its government here."

"There is a strong feeling among people who create jobs ... that the system of government has got to be more open, more honest and more accountable to the people of Hawai'i," she said.

Hughes said Lingle's proposals for greater local control of schools, higher standards and more accountability reflect a passion for education reform — a passion shared by Bush, she said.