Third generation Okinawan American Ige become new Hawaii Governor
November 6, 2014 Ryota Shimabukuro of Ryukyu Shimpo
Democrat David Ige defeated Republican James Aiona and Independent Mufi Hannemann in Hawaii’s gubernatorial race on November 4.
Ige, an electrical engineer and state senator, is third generation Okinawan American. This is the first time that an Okinawan American has become the U.S. governor. Ige will take over office in January 2015.
Ige’s grandparents were from Nishihara Town. Ige became a state representative in 1985 and then took up a post as state senator in 1994. Ige defeated Aiona by a wide margin of 49 percent of the vote compared with 37 percent for his contender.
Since the first wave of Okinawan migration to Hawaii 114 years ago, about 40,000 Okinawans currently live in the U.S. state.
In 1985, Okinawa and Hawaii established sister cities relationship.
Okinawan Americans in Hawaii celebrated the election outcome, expecting the new governor to strengthen the bonds of Okinawan Hawaiian society and promote exchange between Hawaii and Okinawa.
In his interview with the Ryukyu Shimpo at his campaign office in Honolulu, Ige said he was proud to be the first governor of Hawaii with Okinawan ancestry. He added that he would be happy to cooperate with Okinawa in various ways.
(English translation by T&CT)
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