Do you have a photo that could go here? Submit it for this profile by emailing us!
|10th Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii|
|December 4, 2002 – December 6, 2010|
|Bachelor's||University of the Pacific|
|J.D.||University of Hawaii at Mānoa|
|Birthday||June 8, 1955|
Aiona was also the Republican candidate for Governor of Hawaii.
He got his nickname "Duke", named after Dodgers centerfielder Duke Snider, from his father, James Aiona, Sr.
Aiona was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended Saint Louis School, a local Roman Catholic academy of the Diocese of Honolulu. Upon graduating high school, Aiona left the island to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in political science, which he received from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California in 1977. Aiona returned to Hawaii and graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in 1981.
Aiona began his career as an attorney in the public sector holding various positions in the City & County of Honolulu. He was deputy prosecuting attorney for the state of Hawaii under Charles Marsland. In 1990, Aiona was appointed by Hawaii Governor John D. Waihee III to the Hawaii State Judiciary. He became a judge of the Hawaii State Family Courts and had exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving legal minors involving delinquency, status offenses, abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, adoption, guardianships and detention among others. Aiona also oversaw cases of domestic relations involving divorce, child support and custody matters.
He was known for having upset defense attorneys for the way he talked to the juvenile defendants. He believed he was supplying them with discipline. "Our young people want someone to discipline them and tell them what's right and what's wrong," he said. "They really search for that and they really appreciate that."
In 1993, Aiona was appointed to the First Circuit Court in Honolulu. The Hawaii State Circuit Courts are the primary civil and criminal courts in Hawaii. Aiona became famous for his tough rulings for drug offenses. Aiona retired in 1998 to work in the private sector.
Aiona first entered politics in 2002. He admits that he did not join the Republican Party until just prior to the start of his primary campaign. His cousin, Sam Aiona, had served as a Republican member of the state legislature. Duke Aiona ran in the Hawaii Republican Party contest for the nomination to join the gubernatorial ticket led by former Mayor of Maui Linda Lingle. Aiona won and advanced to the general election in November of that year. In December, Aiona was sworn in at an inauguration ceremony at the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda to become the state's Lieutenant Governor.
In 2005, Aiona's personal driver was caught on camera in breaking a new state law right after Aiona had made a public presentation about that same very law. Local ABC affiliate KITV reporter Keoki Kerr reported that after a press conference about a state law that made it illegal to drive a vehicle through a crosswalk with a pedestrian in the crosswalk, news cameras caught Aiona's personal driver almost hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Aiona, unlike many Hawaii Republicans, is strongly pro-life.
Aiona faced Neil Abercrombie (D), Daniel H. Cunningham (Free Energy) and Tom Pollard (Non-Partisan) in the general election on November 2, 2010. Abercrombie won the election, with 58% of the vote to Aiona's 41%.
In 1977, while attending law school, he met Vivian Welsh at a dance in Waikīkī. They married in 1982. They have two sons, Kulia and Makana; and two daughters, Ohulani and Kaimilani. In 1998, he retired from his position as a state circuit judge, stating that the $87,000 annual salary was not enough to support his family. As of 2005, the annual salary he receives as lieutenant governor is $90,041. 
He was known as having a temper, but, according to his wife, he has mellowed with age.  He was questioned about his temper at his confirmation hearing for the state circuit court bench. Judiciary committee member State Senator Matt Matsunaga asked if Aiona recalled getting kicked out of a lawyer's league basketball game in the late 1980s. Matsunaga was satisfied with the explanation that it was a misunderstanding and voted in favor of the appointment.
State Capitol, Room 415
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
Telephone: (808) 586-0221 or (808) 586-0222
Fax: (808) 586-0019
Lieutenant Governor's Office
Telephone: 808 586-0255
Fax: 808 586-0231
- Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
- Hawaii Constitution
- Governor of Hawaii
- Hawaii gubernatorial election, 2010
- Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
- Project Vote Smart biography
- Duke Aiona on Facebook
- Duke Aiona on Twitter
- Duke Aiona on Flickr
- Aionafinnegan.com 2010 Campaign website
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from November 4, 2010.
This article was adapted from Wikipedia 6/21/07.