2014 Kauai District 14 Re-election Campaign is Underway

“I want to thank the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau for bestowing upon me the honor of being able to serve them,” said Kawakami. “It is a privilege that I hold near and dear to my heart. This is not a job, this is a passion. The ability to wake up everyday and have the goal of creating a brighter future for the next generation is something that drives me. To be able to strengthen our educational system so that our keiki have a jump start on life, laying the foundation that strikes the right balance of creating economic opportunity while preserving what we love most about our island. Ensuring that our kupuna are honored and taken care of. Our environment, our sense of place, our Aloha spirit. There is no place in the world that is like our beloved island, we must fight to protect her.”

As a Representative of the 14th Leader as well as the Vice Chair of the Committee of Consumer Protection and Commerce. He is also a member of the Judiciary; Water and Land; Energy and Environmental Protection; and Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs committees.

The 36-year-old Kawakami has nearly a decade of experience in public office. Since being elected in 2006 to the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Board of Directors and serving on the Kaua‘i County Council from 2008-2011, Kawakami’s commitment to the community has been one of honoring the past and building the future. Kawakami approaches his bid for reelection with that same consistency of building bridges of consensus to reach creative solutions to problems that the island of Kaua‘i and the State of Hawai‘i face today.

In the Legislature, Kawakami worked hard to pass HB2626, more commonly known as the Safe Routes to School Bill. The bill created a funding mechanism to appropriate money to the counties to create safe zones that promote walking and bicycling to school. Hawai‘i is the first in the nation to have a statewide Safe Routes to School initiative because of this particular measure. Since the passage of this bill, more than $1.1 million has been appropriated to the County of Kaua‘i through the Safe Routes to School Program.

With Public Safety in mind and in collaboration with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Kawakami was also successful in passing HB1993 that makes the act of physical abuse in the presence of a minor a class C felony. He noted, “We were tired of seeing heartbreaking cases where innocent children were subjected to acts of violence, and felt that the punishment should fit the crime. Our commitment to creating a safe environment for our keiki is paramount.”

Kawakami’s efforts have also paid off in protecting our county lifeguards by passing HB1024. “This particular measure is especially important for our lifeguards at Ke‘e beach,” he said. “Our lifeguards put their lives on the line for us everyday, it is only right that we shield them with protection while they are guarding our keiki, our kupuna, our residents, and visitors.”

Kawakami also serves as the House representative on the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council and the Hawai‘i Broadband Assistance Advisory Council. Kawakami’s proven track record dates back to his service on the KIUC Board and Kaua‘i County Council. He was the second vice chair of the KIUC Board as well as the chair of its Strategic Planning Committee that set the benchmark of achieving 50% of renewable energy by 2023, a goal that sets the bar higher than what the State of Hawai‘i set.

Kawakami has more than 12 years of business experience in operations at Big Save, Inc. and MSM, Inc. He brings his private sector expertise to his work in government. “When I was elected to the County Council in 2008, we were faced with most dire economic outlook since the Great Depression,” said Kawakami. “While the county and state faced the harsh reality of doing more with less, so was our business community and more importantly, our everyday working class men and women. At Big Save, Inc., we were tasked with making necessary cuts to our operation while maintaining core services to the community. In my roles both in government and business, I worked with my colleagues to make hard decisions to weather the storm. The right decision is oftentimes not a popular one, but it takes courage and vision to be able to make those tough choices with the future in mind.”

As a Kaua‘i County Councilmember, Kawakami served as the chair of the Committee on Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations and the vice chair of the Committee of the Whole. He also served as the president of the Hawai‘i Association of Counties.

Raised on Kaua‘i and a graduate of Kaua‘i High School and Chaminade University, Kawakami spends his spare time as member of the Kiwanis, Kaua‘i Police Activities League Board, Advisory Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Kaua‘i, and volunteering as a coach for AYSO soccer. He also played a role in getting wrestling into our high schools as a sanctioned KIF sport. “Giving back to the community is something that was instilled in us from the very beginning,” he stated. It is a part of my life just like being a husband, a father, and a part of the greatest place on Earth, our home, Kaua‘i. I would be honored to continue to serve District 14 for another term.”

Kawakami resides in Kapahi with his wife Monica and his children Christopher and Hailee.

Posted in news, updates |