Carvalho’s strength ‘from the people’

Mayoral candidate plans to continue pounding the pavement

by Michael Levine – The Garden Island

Still basking in the glow of his primary election night triumph, mayoral candidate Bernard Carvalho said he knows there is work to be done but feels confident his leadership style is what Kaua‘i voters want.

“I would say that, as far as I’m concerned, we’re setting a new direction and a new style of leadership,” he said in a phone interview yesterday. “My style of leadership is open, cooperative and collaborative. My management style and experience is on the administrative side that moves projects and makes things happen. Whatever it is, I’m ready to dive right in. That has been my experience of getting things done.”

Carvalho pulled in 7,143 votes, or 39.8 percent of the primary ballots cast, to 5,372, or 29.9 percent, earned by opponent JoAnn Yukimura. Mel Rapozo finished third with just under 25 percent of the vote and Rolf Bieber ended with 4 percent.

“Mel Rapozo ran a clean campaign. I congratulate him and his team and his supporters,” Carvalho said. “I look forward to sitting down and talking to him soon and seeing what opportunities we can work on together.”

When asked about Yukimura’s statements that he represents the “status quo” and has little experience outside his post as director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, Carvalho talked about his general approach rather than specifics.

“There are issues that I know a lot about and there are issues that I need to look more into, but it’s my plan to surround myself with good, positive-thinking people that can help me,” he said. “A good leader allows his people to move and share their thoughts and ideas, all in the best interest of the people who live here. I feel like we have a good solid team in place, and I really stress team.”

Carvalho will be attending meetings in Honolulu and unable to attend Thursday’s now-canceled political forum sponsored by The Garden Island, but said he remains open to future debates against Yukimura.

“There are several of them that are being scheduled as we speak. I look forward to it, I think it’s a good opportunity for people to hear us. People ultimately need to decide what kind of leadership they want,” he said. “We may agree or disagree, but I’m hoping it’s all in the best interest of the people.”

Carvalho said his plans for the six weeks between today and the Nov. 4 general election include more of the same things that carried him to victory on Saturday.

“First of all, we plan to continue to do what we’re doing — connect with people in the community. We’ve been pounding the pavement in preparation for the general,” he said.

“Whether it’s meeting with 10 people or one person, giving people opportunity to be heard, taking information, making it come to life. That’s the strength we have. I get my strength from the people. That’s the connection. I don’t go in wanting a result, I go in wanting to hear what they have to say.

“When I speak, I speak to the people. My strength is through people,” Carvalho said.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at


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