(1953 - )
From 1975 to today - 27 years, Linda Lingle has dedicated herself to making life and government better in Hawaii as a newspaper publisher, a county government leader and an active community volunteer.
After graduating from college cum laude with a degree in journalism, Linda served as the public information officer for the Hawaii Teamsters and Hotel Workers Union in Honolulu, where she edited a monthly newspaper for the unions members.
She then founded the Molokai Free Press, a community newspaper serving the 6,000 residents of the Island of Molokai. As the papers publisher, editor, reporter, photographer and typesetter, Linda reported on community events and covered local government. It was then that she realized she could help make a difference in government.
Fixing Government from the Inside
In 1980, waging a grassroots campaign against a well-funded challenger, Linda was elected to the Maui County Council. She served five two-year terms on the council three terms representing Molokai and two terms as an at-large member. Her major accomplishment was creating a Molokai Planning Commission so that the people of Molokai had a means to discuss and decide zoning and planning issues that affected them.
Linda was elected Mayor of Maui County in 1990 and re-elected in 1994. She served the maximum two consecutive four-year terms by defeating the most prominent Democrats in the County, a former Mayor and a 40-year veteran of the County Council. She was the youngest, the first woman and the only non-Maui born person ever elected to the office. She is proudest of being able to gather support to implement performance-based budgeting that measures the effectiveness of government programs. Thanks to her leadership, Maui County received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for four consecutive years, and she was invited to advise the governments of Guam and Pohnpei on how to implement performance-based budgeting. Throughout her term, job growth was faster on Maui than anywhere else in the state. Because of her innovative and collaborative approach in developing tourism, Maui was voted Best Island in the World in the annual Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards Poll for five consecutive years.
In 1998, Linda campaigned for Governor, losing by just 1 percent of the vote, and was later named the most respected woman in Hawaii in an independent poll commissioned by one of the states leading magazines.
Making a Difference in the Lives of People
Linda has long been active in community service and volunteers her time freely to help make a difference in the lives of people.
She currently is a Board Member and Finance Committee Member for the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii, and was a co-chair for the YWCA Leader Luncheon fundraiser in 2000. For ten years, she was a volunteer Chapter 1 reading tutor at Makawao Elementary School on Maui. She also served as a Troop Leader for the Molokai High School Girl Scout Troop.
Linda Lingle was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1953. When she was 12, her family moved to Southern California, where she graduated from Birmingham High, a public school in Van Nuys. In 1975, she graduated from California State University at Northridge, where she was editor of the Journalism Department Newspaper and the Alumni Newsletter. She was also selected to join the journalism honor society Kappa Tau Alpha. She moved to Hawaii after graduation, following her father who had come a couple years earlier to open Cutter Ford in Aiea.
Source: Linda Lingle