It’s not difficult to figure out where Duke Aiona stands when it comes to traditional red issues.

The lieutenant governor is predictably conservative on taxes, government spending, small business, education accountability, family values, civil unions and many other issues. He has received no endorsements from labor unions or educators, core liberal constituencies. Pro-business groups such as the Maui Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaii Restaurant Association and Smart Business Hawaii have given him their nod.

But on at least two matters — clean energy and sustainability, and homelessness — Aiona often sides with more liberal views. He has also used his government seat as a pulpit to urge people to take better care of themselves, an approach at odds with the general conservative principle of staying out of people’s personal lives.

And he supports federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, a position not in line with mainstream Republicans.

Unlike his Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Neil Abercrombie, Aiona does not have an extensive record in public office. Nor does the Hawaii lieutenant governor’s office have sufficient duties to evaluate.

Instead, Aiona’s views largely have to be drawn from the words and actions of the administration of Gov. Linda Lingle, where he has served for nearly eight years. His experience working within the legal system and his platform and statements running for governor this year also give shape to his ideology.

Aiona certainly is a conservative. He sides with the religious right on social issues, telling the Hawaii Catholic Conference he opposes civil unions, gambling and physician-assisted suicide.

He believes Hawaii businesses struggle with “one of the highest tax burdens in the nation, the high cost of doing business, government-created delays, unnecessary regulatory barriers.”

He wants to “manage government like a business” and to minimize government “delays and uncertainty” for small businesses.

His embrace of fiscal accountability influences his desire to audit the Department of Education.

“The Department of Education consumes 41 percent of the State general fund budget, but how it spends this huge amount of money has not been independently examined since 1973 — for nearly 40 years,” his campaign states.

The platform of the Hawaii Republican Party, which Aiona embraces, includes statements that could easily be found on GOP platforms across the country — or those of Libertarians and Tea Party members:

• The government that governs least, based on the Constitution, governs best.

• Government exists to protect our God-given rights, defend our sovereignty and borders, and provide infrastructure for the common good.

• Government enforces laws that allow for a prosperous free market; it does not compete with nor over-regulate the free market.

• Each person is responsible and accountable for the consequences of their actions.

But, in many ways Aiona embodies the “compassionate conservatism” that was used by George W. Bush in his 2000 campaign for the presidency. Consider this passage used by Project Vote Smart to explain Aiona’s position on families:

“Whether Duke is helping families to recover from illicit drug abuse, combat underage drinking, find loving, permanent homes for our foster children, feed the hungry or give those in need the tools they need to get back on their feet, Duke is a staunch ally of our families. In difficult situations, family, faith and community are often at the heart of the welfare of our people. These factors are the most effective and ideal mechanisms for remedying many of society’s problems.”

Aiona holds some views that cross simple party lines.

Civil Beat looks at Aiona’s record on promoting healthy lifestyles, energy and sustainability, helping the homeless and the Akaka bill.

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