Lingle, Djou make their pitches at Waikiki candidate forum

Lingle, Djou make their pitches at Waikiki candidate forum
Published: Sep. 21, 2012 at 1:52 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2012 at 7:41 AM HST
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Linda Lingle
Linda Lingle
Charles Djou
Charles Djou

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Six candidates were invited to a forum hosted by the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. But only two -- both Republicans -- were able to make it.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, who's running for the U.S. Senate, and Charles Djou, running to reclaim his 1st District seat in Congress, appeared at the forum to answer questions posed by the board at the Sheraton Waikiki.

According to organizers, their respective opponents -- Democratic congresswomen Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa -- were unable to attend because they are still in Washington. But Lingle was quick to point out Hirono's other no-shows.

"It's been disappointing that my opponent doesn't want to show up in public to defend her positions," said Lingle. "She's turned down every community organization except one, and she won't appear on any of the neighbor islands with me to discuss the issues that are important there."

Lingle also told the gathering one of her main campaign points, again while noting Hirono's absence.

"If she was here, she would tell you, you should vote for her because she will support President Obama. And I tell you, I'm not going to Washington D.C. to support President Obama or Mitt Romney. I'm going there to support you," Lingle said.

Djou focused on his main campaign point, the economy.

"Our economy is moving far too slowly," said Djou. "Unemployment is far too high, and what is crushing us is the 16 trillion-dollar national debt. That works out to over 50-thousand dollars per person in our country."

As they were appearing at a Waikiki Neighborhood Board gathering, Djou and Lingle both said they would work to support the industry that's a large part of the area.

"Making sure that we have a healthy, vibrant tourism industry is essential to Waikiki and is essential to our state's economy," Djou said.

The two candidates for Honolulu mayor also were invited to the forum. The neighborhood board chair said Ben Cayetano's campaign said he would be unable to make it. Kirk Caldwell's campaign was there, with campaign volunteers staffing a table with flyers and other information.

Even though the gathering was relatively small, the candidates who did show up said it was important to be there.

"Meeting voters, one at a time, no matter how small the group is, is important because for me, that's how you win an election," said Djou.

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