Categorized | Elections, News

Aiona to open East Hawaii campaign headquarters (May 13)


Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, Republican candidate for governor, will officially open his East Hawaii campaign headquarters to the public Thursday, May 13, at 5 p.m.

Aiona will be on hand for the grand opening ceremony to deliver remarks and talk story with campaign supporters and their families at the new office, which is located at 142D Kinoole Street at the old Hilo Hotel. The event runs 5-7 p.m.

“We’re opening the East Hawaii office first because Hawaii Island’s working families and businesses are crucial to our success,” Aiona said. “We have a large following in East Hawaii, and a big part of my ohana is there. I’ve been visiting the Neighbor Islands as much as possible over several years to connect with and listen to as many of our residents as possible, which has helped me to form a balanced perspective on life in these islands.”

Phil Aganus, East Hawaii County Chairman for the Duke Aiona for Governor campaign, said there will be free food, entertainment and a family-friendly atmosphere at the grand opening.

“This is an exciting time for our local campaign supporters,” Aganus said. “The grand opening of our East Hawaii headquarters is going to be a celebration, and we encourage everyone to come and enjoy the festivities. Duke has a lot of local grassroots support, and the headquarters is going to be our central hub to mobilize and turn out Hawaii Island voters for Duke.”

Aiona has said he is running for governor to ensure balance, integrity and good judgment in state government while reducing the financial burden on our working families and businesses, creating jobs, and improving our education system so all of Hawaii’s children have access to a better future.

The public is encouraged to contact Aganus to RSVP for the grand opening or for more information. He can be reached at 935-8498 or email at

Campaign leadership team

Also, Aiona has announced the members of his campaign leadership team.

“As our campaign continues to grow, I’m adding new leaders to my core team that will help me draw upon the community to shape the next chapter in Hawaii’s future,” Aiona said. “They bring together the right mix of campaign experiences, fresh ideas and an unwavering commitment to reduce the financial burden on our working families and businesses, create jobs and improve our education system so all of our children have the opportunity to compete in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation.”

Aiona’s leadership team includes:

* Mark “Dutch” Hanohano, Campaign Manager – Dutch manages the day-to-day operations of the campaign and oversees Duke’s senior leadership team. Dutch, who was born and raised in Hawaii, began his public service career in 1985 with the Hawaii State Sheriff’s Office, serving 18 years as a Deputy Sheriff, including six years as a Sergeant, and has served two sitting presidents as U.S. Marshal for the District of Hawaii.

* Linda Smith, Senior Policy Advisor – Linda leads the campaign’s policy development team. She has been at the frontlines in shaping the Lingle-Aiona Administration’s policy initiatives since 2003. Prior to her service as Senior Policy Advisor for Governor Linda Lingle, Smith co-owned and managed a Kapolei-based small business, and she has served in a number of prominent positions at all levels of government, including the Director of Finance for the City and County of Honolulu under former Mayor Frank Fasi and Director of Administration for the President’s Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

* Miriam Hellreich, Finance Director – Miriam manages fundraising operations for the campaign, where she’s served Duke since 2007. A veteran of two successful gubernatorial campaigns, Miriam served as Finance Director for Governor Linda Lingle in 2002 and 2006, and represents Hawai`i Republicans as National Committeewoman. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the East West Center.

* Keoki Leong, Political Director – Keoki oversees the campaign’s statewide grassroots leadership team and political operations. Born and raised in Hawaii, Keoki has been actively involved in the community through service organizations and leadership roles in the Lions Club, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, Kaneohe Bay Regional Council and American Cancer Society. Keoki also serves the public as Director of the Senate Minority Research Office at the Hawaii State Legislature.

* Travis Taylor, Communications Director – Travis provides strategic communications counsel and manages the campaign’s communications and media relations activities. He previously served Duke as Senior Advisor of Communications for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Prior to his public service in Hawaii, Travis was a Senior Account Executive for Wilson-Miller Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs consulting firm that provides strategic counseling, government and media relations, campaign and issues management services.

* Roeana Alexander, Scheduling Director – With an uncanny penchant for detail, Roeana is responsible for organizing Duke’s busy campaign schedule. Born in Hawaii and an Oahu resident for more than 30 years, she has compiled an extensive management background in sales, marketing and operations, and co-owned and operated a small business with her husband prior to her service with Duke. Roeana provides a vital link in ensuring Duke maintains his commitment to public service while balancing the need to connect with residents and participate in events throughout the state.

* Darlene Keakalina O’Brien, Deputy Finance Director – Born and raised on the Big Island and a graduate of the University of Hawaii’s political science program, Keaka joined Duke’s team in 2009. She manages a wide range of campaign activities to help Duke raise competitive funds for his gubernatorial bid, including the coordination of grassroots fundraisers statewide.

* Mark “Sarge” Robinson, Volunteer Coordinator – As a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Sarge knows what it takes to organize a large number of motivated individuals, and he’s applying his experience to building and mobilizing Duke’s vast volunteer network across the state to build support and drive turnout for Duke on Election Day. Sarge is also a defense contractor and a devoted husband and father.

* John Allan Peschong, Campaign Strategist – Bringing more than two decades of political public affairs and media experience to the campaign, including Governor Lingle’s two successful gubernatorial campaigns, John serves as Duke’s top political advisor. John honed his skills in politics and media while working in the White House during the Reagan Administration and later as Western States Political Director for the Republican National Committee.

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