HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu’s next mayor is ready to hit the ground running.

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After winning the election, Rick Blangiardi says that he is ready to tackle some of the city’s most important issues. He says that he has already spoken with the governor and the current mayor to get started.

Blangiardi says that the first thing is putting his team together, and he is not necessarily looking at workers who are already in the political arena. He says he just wants to have people who are the best qualified.

“I’ve been encouraged by the fact that I’ve received several phone calls just this past week, suggesting that if I were fortunate enough to win, people in the private sector would like to talk to me in earnest about coming to help this city,” he said.

Shortly after getting the results of the election, he also spoke with Gov. David Ige by phone and the two plan to meet on dealing with the pandemic and the economic recovery.

“I’ve said throughout, it’s gonna take a lot of collaboration with the state, the federal government, and the private sector. I’m anxious that the Governor Ige was so open with me tonight and his acknowledgment of our ability to work together,” said Blangiardi.

Finishing the rail project and finding the money for it is also another priority. Blangiardi spoke briefly with Mayor Kirk Caldwell on election night and more in-depth meetings are planned, including on Nov. 4. Mayor Caldwell says the transition to a new administration is already in progress.

“We’re also preparing transition books, every city department has been asked to do that. We located office space for him and some of his staff to start using and we’ll work to make it the most smooth transition possible,” said Mayor Caldwell.

Blangiardi says he needs to get a good look at the city budget. He adds that affordable housing is another priority, and he wants to make improvements in the Department of Planning and Permitting to help stimulate the construction industry.

Blangiardi acknowledges that the job ahead is filled with extraordinary challenges due to COVID-19. And as mayor, he wants to be a problem solver, but he says he also needs to earn the people’s trust so everyone can work together.

“We have people right now in very serious need of money, a lot of fear, and a lot of uncertainty out there. I want to look at that and work on that as best as I possibly can,” he said.

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