Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. announced today he will run in what is shaping up to be a crowded race for lieutenant governor next year.
Carvalho, 56, has served as mayor since 2008 and has worked for Kauai County since 1985.
He had reportedly been eyeing the governor’s office but said he decided to run for lieutenant governor after hearing from constituents and discussing his options with his wife, Regina.
“I enjoy talking to people. I’m out and about, asking questions,” Carvalho said at a news conference at the state Capitol. “I heard a consistent message: no voice, no bridge, no action. … This concerns me deeply.”
He said he views the lieutenant governor as an extension of the governor’s office, and envisions being able to tackle issues ranging from homelessness to transportation and energy.
“Moving forward, working with the governor as a team, I believe we can assure the voice of the people will be heard,” he said. “I believe we can build bridges to connect people and resources. I believe we will bring action to everything that we do — and that is, action with aloha.”
If he advances in the primary election, Carvalho said he’s ready and willing to work with whomever wins the Democratic race for governor.
“I’m an open kind of guy, I’m willing to work with anybody,” he said. “Whoever becomes governor I’m totally willing. Let’s rock and roll, let’s shake hands and go.”
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said he will not seek reelection when his term ends next year. Other Democratic contenders in the race so far include state Sens. Will Espero, Josh Green and Jill Tokuda; and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.