People react to Abercrombie's inauguration - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

People react to Abercrombie's inauguration

Denise Kaehu Denise Kaehu
Dante Carpenter Dante Carpenter
Kealoha Kealoha
Leon Siu Leon Siu
Mufi Hanneman Mufi Hanneman

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They couldn't have ordered up a more picture perfect day for an inauguration ceremony. And even though it was a little warm sitting in the sunshine, most seemed genuinely excited as Mr. Abercrombie became the state's seventh governor.

"A New Day in Hawaii" began with a huge crowd coming together to welcome their new governor and the promise of change.

"Just the optimism and looking forward to the future. It's up to everyone to put a part in, and that's what his vision for the future is," Aiea resident Denise Kaehu said.

"He showed some sentimentality and some heart, first of all, in the very beginning of it. I can't say it any other way than a new beginning and a working together," Pacific Heights resident Brien Matson said.

Former opponents, lots of politicians, regular folk, and even celebrities like Hawaii Five-0's Daniel Dae Kim showed their support. Gov. Neil Abercrombie received several standing ovations, and many were touched when he shared the recent loss of his mother.

"To hear that he laid to rest his mom yesterday and the meaning of the entire family here, celebration certainly of her life and his life," Hawaii Democratic Party chairman Dante Carpenter said.

"Obviously, a lot of thoughts and emotions racing through my mind, but it's all about moving forward, and it's all about making sure that Governor Abercrombie gets off to a good start," Former gubernatorial opponent Mufi Hanneman said.

The governor's message of moving forward seemed to inspire the young and old in the crowd, the civilian and military, and the melting pot that makes Hawaii special.

After the ceremony came the after party, and the special guests at the inauguration told us what it was like to perform.

"Let us come together as one - Hand in hand - Rising son. For a new day in Hawaii Nei has just begun," slam poet Kealoha said. "Having Neil as an inspiration, it was really easy in that regard cause there's so much to write about when it comes to Neil's message."

Longtime Abercrombie supporter Willie K. had the crowd on their feet when he sang an impromptu Italian aria.

"You don't see a Hawaiian singing Italian opera on the grounds of Iolani palace," Willie K. said.

But not everyone was happy with the days' event. The Kingdom of Hawaii sovereignty group called the inauguration on palace grounds a "travesty," saying Gov. Abercrombie's ceremony should have been held elsewhere.

"He does know better. He knows that this is an affront to the Hawaiian people to do it here," Hawaiian Kingdom spokesman Leon Siu said.

The activists jeered a couple of times but not enough to disrupt the ceremony.

The sovereignty activists say they hope to have a good relationship with Gov. Abercrombie but this isn't a good start for them.

As for the overall transition, staff members say the Lingle administration was friendly and helpful.

And while he's taken over the governor's office, Mr. Abercrombie has yet to move into his new digs at Washington Place. Moving day... to be determined.

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