Mayor Carvalho wise to seek Lt. Gov. post

The talk was that Kauai’s Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was going to run for governor of Hawaii. Nearly everyone was convinced our mayor was going to seek the state’s highest elected seat since he would be termed out next year. It was just a matter of time, most of us thought, until the mayor made it official.

Our mayor had other plans.

Last month, he announced he was running as a Democrat for lieutenant governor of Hawaii.

That’s a smart political move and one that could lead to bigger things.

As much we believe Carvalho would be an excellent governor, we also don’t believe he could have won that race, at least not yet. The jump from mayor of Kauai and Niihau to governor of Hawaii would be a big one. And he would face Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, who announced in September she was seeking the governor’s seat, and he would face incumbent Democratic Gov. David Ige, who is sure to seek re-election. Either one would be difficult for Carvalho to defeat in a statewide race.

But the lieutenant governor post is winnable for Carvalho. Current Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui has already announced that he will not seek re-election when his term ends next year. Others in this race include state Sens. Will Espero, Josh Green and Jill Tokuda; Kim Coco Iwamoto, Maile Lu‛uwai and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Kauai’s mayor can win. He has certainly developed a reputation on this island as a man with heart and vision. He has taken stands where necessary, but his style is to lead and unite, not dictate. He refers to it as being a bridge builder.

He is popular. His appearance at community events, fundraisers and dinners is, to put it simply, a big deal. When the mayor shows up, everyone notices and everyone gravitates toward him. And no one is better at getting around the island to events than the mayor. He, like TGI’s Dennis Fujimoto, seems to be everywhere at one time.

While some might question what exactly he has accomplished as mayor, we believe the mayor’s vision to create a better Kauai is coming to fruition. He encourages people to live well and live healthy. He calls on them to take care of the aina and to take care of ohana. He wants people to live aloha.

Those things are happening and Carvalho’s influence should not be overlooked.

No one can dispute that the mayor loves Kauai and has a passion to do what he can to make it a great home for all who live here.

And, should the mayor win the race for lieutenant governor, the next step from there could be the governor’s office. The statewide recognition and legislative experience he would gain as lieutenant governor are two factors that could lead to a higher office. It’s the next logical move for a man who clearly has political ambitions.

Our only concern here is whether the mayor can campaign effectively while continuing to serve as Kauai’s mayor.

To win the lieutenant governor seat, Carvalho’s campaign will need to take him to other islands, where he is not as well known. He will need to clearly state his goals and tout his achievements to the bulk of the state’s voters on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii. It will be difficult to do that while staying home.

In case you were wondering, here’s a little about Carvalho:

He took office on Dec. 1, 2008 to fulfill a partial two-year term for the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.

Employed by the County of Kauai since 1985, Mayor Carvalho was appointed by Mayor Baptiste in 2002 as the director of the Offices of Community Assistance, which included the Transportation, Recreation, Elderly Affairs and Housing divisions.

In 2007, he was tapped by Baptiste to set up and lead the new Department of Parks and Recreation as director.

A Kauai native, Carvalho graduated from Kapaa High School in 1979 and earned a full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He graduated from UH in 1983 with a degree in communications and public relations and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, where he played for two seasons before returning to the islands and marrying his wife Regina. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Carvalho has been a good mayor. It’s why he was twice re-elected. He would serve the state well as lieutenant governor.

  1. Bruce Newport November 17, 2017 3:42 am Reply

    To the writer would ask where the mayor has been on the following Kauai issues:
    1. Kekaha landfill was scheduled to close in 2017 and ten years in office now has the replacement landfill moving 10 years to the right. Simple elementary school math shows 10-10=0, yes that is zero real progress. We have not even seen a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) or road side recycling implemented in the last 10 years to significantly reduce our waste stream.
    2. Addressing the rising homeless issue on the island that has risen to a point of impacting County Parks and even the lawn in front of the County building. Where is the administration on innovative solutions to this issue.
    3. Sustainable farming to increase on island food production. Where are we today compared to 10 years ago and why has the county not started more community gardens to encourage residents to grow their own and make use of vacant usable county lands.
    4. Affordable housing so our children and grandchildren can afford to stay and live on Kauai. What we see are large developments aimed at second homes for non-residents and at prices not affordable to the locals. There has been essentially zero leadership to fight the high end development and ensure we build for Kauai residents.
    Talking story is not going to solve these issues, they require real leadership and making hard decisions that in many cases will not make those with money happy. As a career politician it is all about keeping those with money happy so you can run your next campaign.

  2. Sunrise_blue November 17, 2017 7:05 am Reply

    Some people know Carvalho jr. They understand him and why his running for “bat boy”, correction Lt. Governor. I personally will not vote for him because Kaua’i has too small a population statewide and the fact he still is not known in the business community. The best choice I think is Jill Tokuda of Honolulu. She has the know hows. Plus a smart women for the job.

  3. Sunrise_blue November 17, 2017 7:29 am Reply

    One more note, I think many people already recogniz Jill Tokuda. So I think she being voted in as Lt. Governor and Ige in Command, the two will make a good leader for Hawai’i. 2018 primary election and general.

  4. Sunrise_blue November 17, 2017 8:45 am Reply

    I urge Voters on Oahu, Maui, and Big Island, to not vote for Bernard P. Carvalho jr. Kaua’i has only 70,085 residents. This should be an easy win if I can convince voters in Hawai’i to not vote for this man. 2018 primary election.

    Thank you all. bloggers.

  5. Sunrise_blue November 17, 2017 10:34 am Reply

    Kaua’i seems pretty smart right? I mean why vote for me? Bernard p. Carvalho jr.

    Usually. Or someone else. So you mean CIP is paying fat or him? I thought he was dumb. Look at the percentages. Still a kid is this guy.

    I never heard of Daniel Gil Renticruz of Waimea High School 1982. Waianae. No make sense. Kalaheo. Only on Kaua’i. Strange, but 1960s.

  6. Howard Tolbe November 17, 2017 4:25 pm Reply

    He has my vote if he can remove all the stupid red tape (documents needed such as marriage certificates, two utilities bill; showing residence location, birth certificate, etc.) rules to get our drivers license renewed and to help multi families get into purchasing a home. Without the red tapes as mentioned.
    Bruce Newport, “your comments hit the nail right on the head!”

    1. Andrew November 17, 2017 6:29 pm Reply

      Outside looking in bra

  7. Howard Tolbe November 17, 2017 4:40 pm Reply

    When I speak of multi families. I mean local people who was born and raised here on Kauai and live in one unit with other family members. Also, “make purchasing a home for these local families really affordable.” ($250,000.00 or lower)

  8. Andrew November 17, 2017 6:01 pm Reply

    Good man, really cares about the people. Plus, really good for Kauai!!i

  9. Dee lowe November 17, 2017 6:35 pm Reply

    Hi moderator😀 do you chose what people are published in TGI comments section? Cool if you do, can I come choose too? We can shape the minds of the islands together, get some decent progress moving around here. Man there’s some land here…you can see the $$$,! LMK 8088808

  10. Harold Siegwart November 17, 2017 11:26 pm Reply

    Mayor Carvalho Good luck , You will be leaving behind , Hardly any reasonable Housing plans , And the highest rate of drug addiction to ICE in history , Oh you did get the Bike path pushed through amazing ! best of luck , Hopefully some of the Land that all the fat cats are tieing up will be negotiated for small parshall’s that can house the low income and homeless . We need a tiny home community, that the workers who work at 10 -15 hr jobs can afford to live in and own the Hale . there has to be a way to have simple cheap housing for the labor force on Kauai .

  11. Jake November 18, 2017 6:42 am Reply

    Great, another “Worked for local Government since 1985” ……any real experience for the Communications Major from U of H?

    If the first sentence on the resume reads “He is popular. He attends events…..and He was born and raised on Kauai”…….. you could write that for anyone.

    So, what has he personally accomplished for 10 years as mayor?

    Anyone care to go back to his first election and educate me on what he promised to accomplish???

  12. Craig Millett November 19, 2017 9:10 am Reply

    How very novel, using the word “wise” in the same sentence as the name Mayor Carvalho.

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