The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Hawaii?s first female governor is CSUN grad

When Gov. Linda Lingle, R-Hawaii, graduated from CSUN in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she had not imagined that she would go on to become the first female governor of the state of Hawaii.

Lingle had originally been a political science major but during her junior year, she decided to change her major to journalism. Lingle was still able to graduate in four years and do it successfully, graduating cum laude.

‘I was a commuter student and lived about 20 minutes away. I am very grateful to the university for providing me with such a wonderful education and as I look at tuition costs now, it was almost for nothing in terms of cost,’ said Lingle.

Lingle is the first alumna to be elected to chief executive of a state. In 2004, Lingle was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from CSUN.

Some time after graduation, Lingle had relocated to Molokai, Hawaii and started a free community newspaper, The Molokai Free Press.

‘We published every two weeks, it was free and I sold a little bit of advertising. I had started the paper to address the needs of the community and it had become very popular. I did have to fly back and forth to Honolulu to have it printed because we didn’t have a printer in Molokai,’ said Lingle.

The newspaper mainly covered local governmental meetings. Lingle soon began to notice that the public’s interest was being poorly represented.

Lingle had never before entertained the idea of running for office. Lingle grew up in a family where no one had ever been involved in politics.

However, with the support of people around her, Lingle ran for office and was successfully elected to the Maui County Council in 1980.

‘I served ten years on the council and then in 1990 decided to run for mayor of Maui County. There was no incumbent running and I had won the election. I served eight years until my term limit was up,’ said Lingle.

Lingle decided to make a bid for the office of governor in 1998. It proved unsuccessful with Lingle losing by 1 percent of the vote. Then in 1999 Lingle was elected chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party.

‘My goal as head of the party was to try and rethink what the Republican Party stood for and to make us a party that helped ordinary people live better lives,’ said Lingle.

In 2002, Lingle made her second attempt at the governor’s office and this time succeeded. In 2006, Lingle won re-election in the gubernatorial race. She will be in office through 2010, her last term due to term limits.

At this year’s Republican National Convention, Lingle spoke on Sept. 3rd about the vice presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska.

Lingle met Palin at a governor’s meeting in Austin, Texas in April. During the energy conference, Palin had steeped in at the last minute and delivered an effective speech in front of powerful energy executives, said Lingle.

‘These were very powerful people, head of BP and the sort, and Sarah had stood up and said the same things to them that she would to the people. With Gov. Palin you get someone who is unafraid to stand up to government for the people,’ said Lingle.

Lingle said that the essence of Palin can be characterized by her willingness and proven ability to challenge the status quo.

‘Sarah isn’t one to be awed by Washington and has the common sense and experience to reform government. As someone who was a mayor and a governor as well, I know that has given her the tested experience to help Sen. McCain reform our country,’ said Lingle.

Lingle and Palin share not only their experiences as both mayors and governors, but also as graduates with journalism degrees.

‘Being a journalist I think truly trains you to ask questions. You understand the importance of truly listening to people. In this business, people are always talking and it’s important to be able to understand and listen to what they’re saying,’ said Lingle.

A couple of weeks ago, Lingle and Palin had been approached by fellow governors, all of whom where male. They remarked to Palin how never in the course of their careers had anyone questioned how they would balance work and family.

‘Sarah is not someone who will get caught up in attacks or complain about sexism from the media. She just goes forward and gets the job done. There is a double standard however in society. And in terms of people attacking her experience? Well, she has more experience than Sen. Barack Obama, who has never headed anything,’ said Lingle.

Lingle believes the general election is anyone’s game at this point. She remains hopeful for a victory in November.

For her remaining years in office, Lingle hopes to wean Hawaii off of their foreign oil dependence.

‘It is important to get us off of our foreign oil dependence and stop sending seven billion dollars overseas to foreign countries every year and create jobs here at home in the energy sector,’ said Lingle.

In the coming weeks, Lingle plans on traveling to battleground states such as Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania in an effort to campaign for McCain.

‘A McCain-Palin victory in November is important for our country. We must elect a president who will bring a realistic rather than na’iuml;ve world view into the oval office,’ said Lingle.

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