|Name||James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr.|
Honolulu, Hawai'i , United States
|| June 08, 1955
Jan 12, 2017 02:41am
Chinese - Polynesian - Portuguese - Catholic -
|Info||James R. Aiona, Jr. serves as Lieutenant Governor under Linda Lingle, the first Republican Governor of Hawai'i in forty years. |
Duke, as locals know him, was born in Honolulu in 1955. After graduating from St. Louis School, he went on to attend the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. In 1977 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. That year, he began his studies at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
After graduating from law school in 1981, Aiona started his legal career with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu. After two years as a deputy prosecuting attorney, he was appointed to the career criminal unit.
He was appointed Deputy Corporation Counsel of the City and County of Honolulu in the litigation branch. He defended property, personal injury, contractual, and other claims filed against city. In his third year on the job, he was appointed litigation branch chief, with administrative and supervisory authority over matters such as personnel and budget.
In 1990, Aiona was appointed to the state judiciary, which marked a new phase of his career. He first served as a District Family Court judge. In this role, he saw many divorce, domestic abuse, and juvenile crimes cases.
Seeing domestic problems firsthand as judge strengthened his conviction that the family unit is the foundation of society. This philosophy would continue to have a profound influence on his personal and professional life.
In 1993, he advanced to the Civil Division of the First Circuit Court on O'ahu, where he presided over jury and non-jury matters, as well as tax appeals. In 1996, he was appointed Administrative Judge of the newly created Hawaii Drug Court. Serving as the first judge of the highly praised, innovative Drug Court remains one of Aiona's most fulfilling achievements.
In 1998, Aiona retired from the bench. After working for a time as a legal consultant, arbitrator, mediator, and hearings officer for government agencies,Aiona set his sights on running for public office.
After being elected to the office of Lt. Governor in 2002, Aiona quickly set the tone for his new administration. In contrast to previous administrations, he has shown himself to be a very "hands-on" lieutenant governor. He and his legal team began to address substantive issues of pressing importance: public safety (substance abuse, overcrowding in correctional facilities) and Native Hawaiian issues (health, self-determination).
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