NAWILIWILI — Mayoral candidate Mel Rapozo had a great place to watch the Super Bowl Sunday.
“I just saw the television set,” Rapozo said while untying the symbolic lei to his campaign headquarters Thursday afternoon at the Anchor Cove Shopping Center. “I didn’t do anything. The campaign people, including Campaign Chair Kaleo Perez, did all the work and made it look like home. I can watch the Super Bowl here on the big television set.”
Rapozo said he officially filed his papers for the mayor’s office earlier in the day, and the opening of his campaign headquarters made it official.
“I can be the vehicle for change this island needs,” Rapozo told the gathering of nearly 100 people who huddled under the eaves of the shopping center near the Papalina Gelato shop. “But I cannot do it alone. We need to do this as a team, and we’ve got to work hard.”
Rapozo said his campaign will be based on a grassroots effort, including coffee hours, one-to-one meetings, phone banks and word-of-mouth.
“And we’re going to win by shopping at Costco where I go for shopping and spend two hours before getting what I went for,” the mayoral candidate said. “We will not win the money battle because there is another candidate who has already raised more than double of what we have in just a short amount of time — and the race hasn’t even started. We will win because of experience, not popularity.”
Rapozo said the island is at a crossroads.
“Do we stay status quo? Or do we change?” he said. “I’ve had 14 years on the Kauai County Council, and have been through countless administrators, and worked through 14 county budgets. I have seen stuff that works, and ones that didn’t. We need to change the ways we do things, not raise taxes. People say 1/2 percent (tax increase) is small. But it’s not for those on fixed incomes. If we cut 10 percent of the fat, we can save $10 million. Experience beats popularity.”
Rapozo will be hosting a fundraising event March 18 at Smith’s Tropical Luau.