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New Honolulu mayor, city councilors sworn in

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu has a new slate of leaders after the mayor and five first-term City Council members took the oath of office.

Former television executive Rick Blangiardi was sworn in as mayor at City Hall on Saturday.

The 74-year-old became Honolulu’s eighth mayor since Hawaii gained U.S. statehood in 1959. Blangiardi replaces Kirk Caldwell, who was in office for eight years.

Blangiardi’s 22 appointed cabinet members also were sworn in by retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson.

“We all know we have very big jobs and very big responsibilities,” Blangiardi said. “I have found in my life if you can collect enough passionate people with skill sets who have proven that, great things happen, and clearly we need to anticipate making great things happen together.”

Blangiardi declined to offer specifics on plans to address issues facing his administration, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s rail project that has experienced delays and ballooning costs.

Also taking the oath of office were five first-time City Council members: Radiant Cordero, Esther Kiaaina, Calvin Say, Augie Tulba and Andria Tupola.

Councilman Tommy Waters was elected council chairman. Kiaaina was elected vice chairwoman, and Tupola will be floor leader of the nine-member council, which also includes returning members Brandon Elefante, Carol Fukunaga and Heidi Tsuneyoshi.

Waters urged the revamped council to set aside political grievances.

“Never mind finger-pointing, excuses and blame, which has never created amazing leadership forging into the future,” Waters said. “What has always worked is love and true aloha for the people we serve.”