Council to select next mayor today

The Kaua‘i County Council will pick one of its seven members to serve as mayor until Dec. 1 at a special council meeting that starts at 9 a.m., today, at the Historic County Building.

A majority vote is needed to pick the temporary successor to Mayor Bryan Baptiste, who died June 22 at age 52 after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest at his Wailua home where he was recovering from heart bypass surgery.

The six remaining council members will then have 30 days to choose someone to fill the resulting vacancy or the newly appointed mayor will be tasked with making the decision, according to the county charter.

Voters will decide at the Nov. 4 election who will serve as mayor for the two years left in Baptiste’s second term.

A team of county officials has been meeting to discuss succession issues. The team includes Acting Mayor Gary Heu, Asing, County Attorney Matthew Pyun, County Clerk Peter Nakamura and staff. Other council members have not been directly involved in the discussions.

The mayor’s unexpected death has put a spin on this year’s political season. The rumor mills are churning out best guesses on who the council will pick for the interim period and who may file to run for the long haul. But, so far, it remains mostly speculation.

Council members Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, who is running for prosecutor, and Mel Rapozo have publicly endorsed Asing, who has seniority, to serve as mayor for the next five months. But Rapozo has said he is interested in the job if Asing is not.

Other council members have refrained from commenting on succession concerns, saying the past couple weeks have been a time for mourning.

The deadline to file to run in the general election is July 22.

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