By Léo Azambuja
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. filed his candidate papers Thursday, making his 2014 re-election bid official.
“We have worked hard for the past five years to create partnerships and make great things happen for the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau,” he said in a press release. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and keep at it for another four years.”
Carvalho now joins Debralynn Desilva Carveiro in the race for mayor of Kaua‘i later this year. John Hoff, of Koloa, and Curtis Lake, of Kapa‘a, have pulled papers in February, but have yet to file them, according to the state of Hawai‘i elections website.
Citing initiatives such as completing additional portions of multi-use coastal path, moving forward on siting a new landfill, executing the island’s first cultural stewardship agreement for Kaneiolouma Heiau in Po‘ipu, establishing islandwide park-and-ride sites for the bus system, and acquiring land to expand Hanalei Beach Park, Carvalho vowed to continue to “put the emotional side of the issue first.”
“If we take the time to talk story, listen to concerns and new ideas, and incorporate those things into our action plans, we end up with a much better outcome,” he said.
A nearly 30-year veteran of county government, Carvalho first stepped into office in 2008, after winning a special election to fill the last two years of Mayor Bryan Baptiste, who died of a heart attack earlier that year.
Since 2008, bus ridership has doubled, and the island’s recycling rate as jumped to 43 percent from 29 percent, according to the release.
“We’ve proven that we can get things done, but always in a way that is thoughtful and respectful,” Carvalho said. “Action with Aloha is what it’s about.”
In the 2010 elections, Carvalho was re-elected after receiving 17,744 out of 23,009 votes cast. Lone challenger Diana LaBedz garnered 3,678 votes, and there were 1,581 blank votes. Additionally, more than 17,000 registered voters on Kaua‘i did not exercise their right to vote in the 2010 General Elections.
Usually, mayors are allowed two four-year consecutive terms in office on Kaua‘i, but because of the circumstances of Carvalho’s first term, he is eligible for another bid for office.
If re-elected later this year, he will be Kaua‘i’s first mayor to serve 10 consecutive years.
“It’s been such a rewarding experience so far, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by an amazing team, great supporters throughout the community, and of course my entire ‘ohana,” Carvalho said.