Lingle will attend Bush inauguration
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
Gov. Linda Lingle, one of several Republican governors who campaigned for President Bush on the Mainland during his successful re-election, will attend his inauguration this month in Washington, D.C.
Lingle was invited to the Jan. 20 inauguration, where Bush will be sworn in for a second four-year term. The inaugural events, which will reflect a nation at war, include a traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and nine balls. The inaugural committee added a Commander-in-Chief Ball this year at the National Building Museum to honor soldiers and their families who have either returned or are about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
The governor, who will miss the opening day of the state Legislature because of the trip, campaigned for Bush in a handful of states after the final presidential debate in October. Polls right before the election had the presidential race close in historically Democratic Hawai'i, leading to a last-minute visit by Vice President Dick Cheney. Bush did 8 percentage points better with Island voters in November than he did when he first ran for president in 2000, but he lost Hawai'i to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, 54 percent to 45 percent.
Several other prominent Hawai'i Republicans will also attend the events.
"It's good to be involved and to be able to build those relationships with the White House," said Brennon Morioka, the Hawai'i Republican Party chairman. "I just see that as a positive for Hawai'i."
Along with Morioka, Keoki Leong, the party's executive director, and Willes Lee, vice chairman for voter registration and identification, are expected to attend, as are national GOP committeewoman Miriam Hellreich and national GOP committeeman Travis Thompson.
Hellreich will be attending her third inauguration. She was there for Ronald Reagan's second-term celebration in 1985 and for Bush's first in 2001. "It's just, to me, a real high to be able to go to this," she said. "I think we're very fortunate to have such strong leadership."
Reach Derrick DePledge at email@example.com or 525-8070.