LIHUE — Bernard Carvalho Jr. will serve as mayor of Kauai and Niihau for another four years.
With his re-election, he will become the first person to serve 10 years in the position.
“Just thankful, appreciative,” Carvalho said of the results, covered in leis and surrounded by friends and family gathered for an election party at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. “We’ve just had a great, great support system that never gave up, never took things for granted, did our work respectfully, kept focused, consistent and respectful.”
From the first printout Tuesday, Carvalho maintained a commanding lead over his challenger, professional surfer and mixed martial arts fighter Dustin Barca.
With all 16 precincts accounted for, Carvalho tallied 14,688 votes (61.1 percent) over Barca’s 8,195 (34.1 percent). Blank votes accounted for 4.8 percent of the mayoral vote.
Barca, who campaigned against the island’s agrochemical industry and for cultural revival and environmental protection, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Carvalho said that while much of the discussion over the last year on Kauai has focused on pesticides and genetically modified organisms, there are many important issues on Kauai that he and his administration are committed to addressing.
“The numbers, I believe, tell me that the people, they like what we’re doing,” he said. “We just have a chance to finish what we said we were going to do. And that is an opportunity for me to finish what we started.”
Carvalho said he has no problem making a tough decision, but that he has made it his practice to take his time, bring people to the table and not rush into things because of pressure.
Carvalho said he plans to “rock and roll” over the next four years and continue working on a projects, including transportation and housing programs, waste management and diversion, park improvements, stewardship programs with Hawaiian organizations, and bus shelters.
“This is my last four years,” he said. “I’m not going to be one lame duck mayor. We going to be one action with aloha mayor, administration, to get things done. And that’s a commitment.”
Carvalho said he was excited about sending out a big mahalo to all of his supporters for their confidence.
“We’ll move right on forward with our mission and our goals,” he said.
Carvalho took over as mayor of Kauai and Niihau in 2008 when a special election had to be called after the death of former Mayor Bryan Baptiste. In his 2010 bid for re-election, Carvalho easily defeated his challenger, Kekaha resident Diana LaBedz, tallying 17,514 votes (77 percent) to LaBedz’s 3,634 votes (16 percent).
Carvalho tallied large numbers in August’s primary election, with 58 percent of the vote to Barca’s 31 percent.
• Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.