Breaking with Hawaii Gov. Lingle, Aiona backs latest Akaka bill
By HERBERT A. SAMPLE
HONOLULU — Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona is announcing his support for the current version of federal legislation to establish a governing entity for Native Hawaiians.
The position taken Friday by Aiona, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor later this year, differs with that of GOP Gov. Linda Lingle.
The governor has long backed federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. But she opposes the bill’s current version, in part, because it would immediately vest a governing entity with ill-defined powers.
Aiona, however, says he backs the latest version but has reservations about its provisions on the entity’s sovereign immunity and how Native Hawaiian constituents are defined.
A spokesman says Aiona would support the bill even if it is unaltered.