Councilman Bryan Baptiste filed his nomination papers Tuesday making his run for the mayor’s office official.
Baptiste, 46, is now serving in his third term as a member of the Kaua’i County Council. He is a resident of Wailua Houselots, and was raised and educated on Kaua’i.
“I feel very strongly that I have something unique and compelling to offer the people of Kaua’i,” Baptiste said in a prepared statement. “My campaign is about working together to get things done. It’s about results.”
The Baptiste campaign slogan is “Leadership from the Heart,” and the slogan is widely visible on campaign signs that have been displayed in yards and along highways for at least the past month.
Businessman Ross Nakashima, the owner of Ventures Associates, is his campaign chairman.
He said the statewide Republican Party will be supporting his run for mayor, and he will do some fundraising in Honolulu, as he has done the past few years. On island, he has scheduled a fundraiser for later this month at Kukui Grove.
Baptiste is known on Kaua’i as a small businessman and for his Ho’olakahi park clean-up program, which he began when he ran the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 1994-96. The program has enlisted thousands of volunteers to help beautify the island.
The Republican councilman said he will involve the community in his administration if elected as Mayor, just as he drew their involvement into the park cleanup and beautification program.
“Ho’olokahi is more than any one project or a dollar figure,” explains Baptiste. “Ho’olokahi is about a process of involving the community in decision-making and prioritizing. My administration will make the Ho’olokahi concept a cornerstone for decision-making in all areas.”
Baptiste builds on the Ho’olokahi theme in his political campaigning by walking neighborhoods and handing out small potted flowering plants as part of his campaigning.
As an example of working successfully with the community, he is also pointing out his work on establishing a committee with the aim of building a coastline bike and jogging path that would run form Nawiliwili to Anahola.
Baptiste said he is also working on insuring that the public retains access to the island’s beaches, and said he introduced a council ordinance that allows the Planning Commission to place stronger public access requirements on new developments. He is currently sponsoring a bill that is designed to provide rate relief to sewer customers on fixed incomes.
He also wants to make the county government more proactive in providing service for local residents. His ideas include expanding parking at the county’s civic center, opening up offices on Saturdays for vehicle registration and county tax payments. He’d also create an “Office of Community Response,” which would field calls about potholes, graffiti and repairs needed at public facilities. “These things need to be addressed quickly – within 48 hours,” he said.
Baptiste attended St. Catherine’s Elementary School and graduated from Kapa’a High School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Hawai’i in 1978.
His father, Anthony C. Baptiste, served as chairman of the Kaua’i Board of Supervisors, a position similar to that of mayor prior to Kaua’i first electing a mayor and a county council in the late 1960s, and in the state legislature, and had a political career that spanned the last decade of the Territorial years and the early years of Statehood.
After college graduation Baptiste worked as program coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Honolulu before returning to Kaua’i to become Island Manager for National and Tropical Rental Car.
He owned and operated “Petals and Passions,” a florist business, in Kapa’a from 1979-1994., which he owned and operated until 1994. He is currently vice president of Kauai Operations for the Hawaii Management Alliance Association. He is married to the former Annette Asato, and the couple have four children: Brandon 19 , Heather 16, Lauren 13 and Preston 9.
On the Web: www.baptisteforkauai.com