Meeting of the mayors

LIHUE – Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C., where he attended the 83rd winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. While there, the mayor met with Hawaii’s congressional delegation and other key contacts, and attended the State of the Union event.

“It was great to be in our nation’s capital and dialog with various leaders. I believe it is important that we build and maintain strong partnerships with all levels of government as we work toward shared goals. So much more can be accomplished through collaboration,” Carvalho said.

The mayor met individually with U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, U.S. reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Mark Takai as well as Andrew Winer, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Schatz was unable to meet with the mayor due to his schedule.

Follow-up letters will be sent to the congressional delegation re-capping their meetings and reiterating the mayor’s request for their assistance with future grant applications for the county’s priority projects — Lima Ola (workforce housing project), adolescent treatment and healing center, mobility and revitalization of the Lihue Town Core and the Kauai Creative Technology Center.

Another key person that the mayor arranged a meeting with was Federal Highways Administration Administrator Greg Nadeau, who oversees the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant Program.

The mayor showed Nadeau and his policy staff a draft proposal that the county is planning to submit for a TIGER grant. The aim of the proposal is to revitalize and improve mobility in the Lihue Town Core with efforts focused on improving safety and mobility for all modes of transportation, including transit, cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

The FHWA staff was impressed with the write-up, describing it as being “extremely intelligent and an excellent fit for the next round.”

During the USCOM meeting, about 900 mayors from across the country, along with special guests, discussed a wide range of challenges facing U.S. cities and counties.

The USCOM meeting also provided members with networking opportunities.

“I introduced myself to a number of the mayors, particularly those with similar sized populations to Kauai,” Carvalho said. “We found that it doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re in, we’re faced with a lot of the same issues such as housing, the environment and transportation.”


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