Baptiste feels ‘sense of urgency’ to give government back to people

KUKUI’ULA – “It’s just an exciting time,” said Mayor Bryan Baptiste on the eve of his first full week on the job.

Reiterating his pledge to work with all Kauaians to create the island “we all want,” he talked about a “sense of urgency” he is starting to feel to get some meaningful reforms in place.

His community-empowerment mantra, echoed before around 50 people at Lawai Beach Resort in a forum sponsored by the Poipu Beach Resort Association and Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce, sounded this time a bit more like a challenge being thrown down.

“Really, the onus is on all of you. We’re just letting you play,” said Baptiste.

Saying his first several days in office revealed “more challenges than I’d like,” he remains confident that with the good team he has surrounded himself with, and further help from everyone on the island, the challenges aren’t insurmountable.

He told the group he has assigned department heads and other appointed county employees to the 22 communities from Ha’ena to Barking Sands.

Kauai Fire Department Chief Charlie Hiramoto has been assigned to Koloa, and public information assistant Julie Souza is the Po’ipu liaison.

Beginning sometime early next year, the community liaisons will conduct regular public meetings to discuss neighborhood issues, Baptiste said.

“We’re trying to design the administration in a different way,” he concluded.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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