Former Governor Lingle was the sixth elected Governor of Hawaii. She was also the first mayor, first woman, first person of Jewish ancestry. She was also the first Republican to lead the Aloha State in over 40 years. In November 2005, she was awarded the Diversity Best Practices Award for Leadership in Government – the first such award for a state’s chief executive.
She first served the people of Hawaii in 1980 as a member of the Maui County Council, and went on to complete five two-year terms, three representing the island of Moloka`i. In 1990 she was elected Mayor of Maui County and served two full four-year terms. Under her leadership, job growth was faster in Maui County than anywhere else in the state.
Lingle is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. When she was 12, her family moved to Southern California, where she attended public schools. She relocated to Hawaii in 1975 after graduating cum laude with a journalism degree from California State University, Northridge. In 1976, she founded and began serving as publisher of the Moloka`i Free Press.