James “Duke” Aiona

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James “Duke” Aiona was the lieutenant governor of Hawaii under Gov. Linda Lingle from 2002 to 2010. Together they formed the first Republican administration elected in Hawaii since statehood in 1959.

The lieutenant governorship was Aiona’s first political office after more than 20 years as a city prosecutor, city attorney and state judge. Aiona ran for governor against Democrat Neil Abercrombie but was defeated in the 2010 general election 58-41 percent.

Following the 2010 election, Aiona was named executive vice president for development and recruitment at Saint Louis School in Honolulu. He currently has no plans to run for office in 2012 but has said he may again run for governor in 2014.

Aiona was born on June 8, 1955, in Pearl City, Hawaii. Aiona has Hawaiian, Chinese and Portuguese roots. Had he been elected in 2010, he would have been only the second Native Hawaiian governor, after John D. Waihee III.

Aiona went to Saint Louis School in Honolulu and, after graduating, earned a degree in political science from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. In 1977, Aiona returned to Honolulu where he attended the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He graduated with a law degree in 1981.

After graduation, Aiona took a clerkship with Circuit Court Judge Wendell K. Huddy. He then entered the public sector as an attorney for the city of Honolulu. Aiona’s first position was as a deputy prosecuting attorney. He would go on to serve as a deputy corporation councel and a chief litigator. In 1990, Gov. Waihee appointed Aiona to the Hawaii judiciary, where he presided in the state’s Family Court.

Aiona was a key player in establishing Hawaii’s first Drug Court in 1996. Drug Court is considered one of the state’s more successful prison-deterrent programs. Aiona left the bench in 1998.

Between 2000 and 2001, the Hawaii Republican Party approached Aiona to run for lieutenant governor with Lingle. When he decided to run for public office, he told Hawaii411.com that his decision stemmed from a spirit to serve and a call to duty. He said, “It is something that has evolved over time. You may laugh, but I also believe that I’ve been pulled in this direction by a higher power … by God. I believe that this is a calling that I need to answer.”

Aiona, a Catholic, is public about his faith. In 2005, he took some criticism for saying “Hawaii belongs to Jesus” at a rally for the group Transformation Hawaii. In response, former Gov. Ben Cayetano told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that, “As for his ardent Christian beliefs, pretty obvious that he is an evangelical Christian who has a tough time separating church and state.” Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Kauai Mayor Brian Baptiste also attended the rally.

Aiona is married to Vivian Aiona, whom he met at law school. They have four children.

During his two terms as lieutenant governor, Aiona took a firm stance on substance abuse. He credits coordinated efforts by state and local officials with reducing the number of discovered methamphetamine labs from 19 in 2003 to three in 2007.

Aiona held a Drug Control Strategy Summit in 2003 where he organized a private and public partnership to help curb drug use in Hawaii. He also served on the advisory council for the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In 2006, Aiona was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities.

Aiona also co-chaired the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, a national coalition, in an effort to reduce underage drinking in the United States.

Aiona also took a stance against House Bill 444, legalizing civil unions. In a written statement, he said, “If the Legislature wanted to establish the equivalent of same-sex marriage, they should have put it on the ballot for the people to decide. This bill should not be allowed to become law.”

Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed the bill that July 6.

James “Duke” Aiona

June 2016

Thursday, June 9

Aiona Endorses Djou For Mayor

Thursday, June 2

Aiona Looking At 3 Races

May 2016

Tuesday, May 24

Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress?

March 2016

Tuesday, March 8

Hawaii Republicans Hand Donald Trump Another Victory

Duke Aiona Endorses Marco Rubio

November 2014

Tuesday, November 4

Hawaii Governor: Ige Defeats Aiona in Landslide Vote

September 2014

Tuesday, September 30

Denby Fawcett: Digging Up Dirt and Opposition Research 101

Monday, September 15

Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako

August 2014

Monday, August 25

Chad Blair: Republicans on Parade

June 2012

Friday, June 8

Thielen Donated to Hawaii GOP Candidates

June 2011

Saturday, June 11

Capitol Watch: June 13

December 2010

Thursday, December 16

Capitol Watch: Dec. 16

Friday, December 3

Abercrombie Spent $4.6M on Winning Campaign

Wednesday, December 1

Duke Aiona’s Transformation: ‘Praying at the Government Gate’

November 2010

Monday, November 29

Capitol Watch: Nov. 29

Tuesday, November 23

Capitol Watch: Nov. 23

Thursday, November 11

Another Road Block at Aiona’s Office

Saturday, November 6

Week 27: Observations About Governor’s Race and Civil Beat Polls

Thursday, November 4

Tight Races Attract $21.8M to Hawaii Campaigns

Wednesday, November 3

What Recession? Candidates Spend Big for General Election

Abercrombie 50, Aiona 1

Election Night 2010 at GOP Headquarters — A Slideshow by Luci Pemoni

The Faces of Duke Aiona’s Supporters — A Slideshow by Luci Pemoni

Tuesday, November 2

A Look at Late, Late Money Entering Races

October 2010

Sunday, October 31

The Last Word: Duke Aiona on Why Voters Should Elect Him Governor

Aiona: My ‘Only Involvement’ With Harvest Evangelism’s Ed Silvoso Was at Argentina Conference

Thursday, October 28

Running into a Stone Wall in Aiona’s Office

The Gov Candidates on Human Trafficking

Wednesday, October 27

The Gov Candidates on Transparency

Tuesday, October 26

Where Neil, Brian, Duke and Lynn Get Their Money

Abercrombie’s Crowning Victory

Civil Beat Poll: Abercrombie Holding His Lead in Governor’s Race

What’s at Stake in Questions About Aiona’s Religious Activity

Aiona Can’t Catch Abercrombie in Money Race

Monday, October 25

Ed Silvoso Responds to ‘Aiona, God and State’ Article

Saturday, October 23

Aiona Would Hold Office Prayers as Governor

Living on the Wire With KITV

Can’t Miss Comments, Oct. 1 – Separation Anxiety

Thursday, October 21

Aiona, God and State

Aiona Says He’s Victim of “Despicable Attacks”

Wednesday, October 20

Canvassing the Garden Isle

Garden Variety: Kauai’s Gov-Lt. Gov. Debate

Monday, October 18

The Blue Aiona and The Red Abercrombie

Saturday, October 16

Aiona & Abercrombie Duel Over Ed Board

Aiona: No Dads In 40 Percent of Hawaii Households

Friday, October 15

Q&A With Duke Aiona

Around the Kitchen Table with Neil, Duke, Charles and Colleen

Wednesday, October 13

Abercrombie: Federal Money Could Have Stopped Furlough Fridays

OHA Debate: Neil Says Act Now on Akaka Bill, Duke Says Wait for New Congress

Hooser: Aiona a ‘Right Wing Religious Zealot’

Civil Beat Poll: Abercrombie Holds Slight Edge in Hawaii Governor’s Race

Tuesday, October 12

Abercrombie Still Leads Aiona in Money Race

Monday, October 11

Aiona: Every Gov Since Ariyoshi Has Asked for Audit of DOE

Spending the Weekend With Duke and Neil

Neil and Duke: The Weekend in Pictures

Saturday, October 9

Aiona’s Shades of Blue

Aiona’s Shades of Blue: The Akaka Bill

Aiona’s Shades of Blue: Helping the Homeless

Aiona’s Shades of Blue: Energy and Sustainability

Aiona’s Shades of Blue: Healthy Lifestyles

Friday, October 8

Aiona: We Have 450 Schools With STEM Programs

Thursday, October 7

Aiona: ‘We’ve Never Talked About Student Achievement’

Wednesday, October 6

Radio Daze: The Gubernatorial Broadcast Debate

Tuesday, October 5

Duke Compares Plans, Neil Plans For Plan

September 2010

Thursday, September 30

Aiona: Affordable Care Act Will Strain State Budget

Lingle: Abercrombie Too Old and Set in His Ways

Gov Rivals Have Healthy Exchange Over Health Care

Monday, September 27

Duke ‘n Lynn Firing on All Pistons

Aiona: 10 Percent Increase In Locally Grown Food Will Generate $188 Million, Create 2,300 Jobs

Friday, September 24

Can’t Miss Comments, Sept. 25 – Just The Fact Checks Ma’am

Utah and Four-Day Workweeks

Thursday, September 23

Aiona: Tort Reform Drove Down Health-Care Costs, Brought Back Docs

Duke Calls for ‘Aloha Thursday’ for State Employees

Wednesday, September 22

Aiona Gets Money From State Officials, Churches and Business

Tuesday, September 21

With No Real Competition, Aiona Spent $2.3M on Primary Campaign

Duke vs. Neil: Compare and Decide

Monday, September 20

Aiona: Republicans on the Rise

Sunday, September 19

Mufi = Neil = Love

Friday, September 17

Abercrombie Rolls Over Hannemann

Why I Would Make the Best Governor – Duke Aiona

Sunday, September 12

Aiona Takes Personal Time

Saturday, September 11

John Carroll, $929 and the Media

Thursday, September 9

God and Hawaii Politics

Tuesday, September 7

Family Fun Day With Duke … on Sept. 11?

Friday, September 3

Are You There GOP? It’s Me, Chad

Thursday, September 2

Banner Campaign for Aiona Runs on Politico

Wednesday, September 1

Aiona: Only Candidate to Take Notice of Small Business?

Duke, Jonah, Mufi and God

August 2010

Wednesday, August 25

Fifth Floor Diplomacy From Duke, Mufi ‘n’ Neil

Friday, August 20

Gov Wannabes Want Business Climate Change

Thursday, August 19

Abercrombie’s Vision Thing

Friday, August 13

Did Aiona Build the Hawaii Drug Court

Wednesday, August 4

Hannemann on Endorsements by Business Groups

July 2010

Wednesday, July 28

Aiona on His Garage Clothesline and VW Van

Tuesday, July 27

Hannemann: Let’s Bring The Superferry Back

Friday, July 23

Hawaii Links for Friday, July 23

Wednesday, July 21

Mufi, Neil and Duke Talk Tech

How Green Is Aiona? We’ll Find Out Next Week


Tuesday, July 20

Track the Fundraisers with Civil Beat

Monday, July 19

Hannemann’s PR Sprint to the Finish Line

Thursday, July 15

Does Half of Hawaii Follow @Mufi on Twitter?

Wednesday, July 14

Hawaii Links for Wednesday, June 14

Monday, July 12

Hawaii Links for Monday, July 12

Wednesday, July 7

Lingle Dodges Civil Unions Issue

Thursday, July 1

Aiona To Hold News Conference On Education

June 2010

Wednesday, June 30

UPDATE: Poll Says Dems Will Win Governor’s Race

Tuesday, June 29

Hawaii Links for Tuesday, June 29

Thursday, June 10

What Headquarters Tell Us About Governor Candidates

May 2010

Thursday, May 27

Discussion: Hawaii Politics

UPDATE: Mufi Hannemann Declares Bid For Governor

Wednesday, May 26

Discussion: Hawaii Governor’s Race