Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona gave the invocation tonight at a Washington Place ceremony unveiling Gov. Linda Lingle’s official portrait. But first he had a story for the audience filled with Cabinet members, Lingle’s friends, and dignitaries.
Aiona recalled how he and Lingle did not really know each other very well until they won their primaries and were paired as the GOP ticket in 2002. After the election, they started regular Monday lunches to talk story.
One early lunch, just before Lingle was preparing to leave the state on a trip, was memorable:
I’ll never forget. We kind of ate and we were talking. And then she says, `Can I get a little serious here?’
And I said, `Oh, absolutely.’
She said, `Well, you know I’m going to be leaving.’ I think it was Monday or whatever it was.
She says, `I’m going to be leaving and I just want to know. I want to get your assurance on this: Please, if anything should happen to me, don’t fire the Cabinet.’
I chuckled about that also …because that’s exactly what I was going to do.
I chuckled about that, but then it really dawned on me that here was a governor where her Cabinet meant that much to her.