Kawakami Files to Run for County Council

LIHUE, HAWAII, June 2, 2016 – District 14 Rep. Derek S.K. Kawakami filed to enter the race for Kauai County Council today. Last month, he announced his intention not to seek re-election for his current position in the State Legislature to pursue a seat on the County Council. Kawakami previously served on the Kauai County Council from 2008-2011.

“Returning to the County Council allows me to work more closely with fellow Kauai residents and to affect positive changes on a local level,” said Kawakami.

He continued, “While Kauai is the most beautiful, close-knit place to raise a family, it is also a challenging place to make ends meet. I think many people are looking to government to provide some relief to their everyday lives, and I am ready to work to do so.”

If elected to the County Council, Kawakami will focus on bolstering public safety and finding tangible solutions for affordable housing, traffic, and other concerns that affect Kauai’s families daily.

“As a 4th generation Kauai resident, I am especially mindful of our island’s roots – where we came from and what we can learn from those who came before us,” noted Kawakami. “My approach to leadership is honoring our past while building our future. If we can maintain this focus, we’ll be able to move forward in a respectful, responsible and productive manner.”

In the 2016 legislative session, Kawakami, along with Kauai legislators State Senate President Ron Kouchi, Rep. Jimmy Tokioka and Rep. Dee Morikawa, secured more than $141 million in Capital Improvement Funding Projects for the Garden Island. Some of these projects include cooling classrooms, building affordable housing, and supporting nonprofit organizations that provide critical services to Kauai residents.

“Through my experience in the Legislature, I have learned that there are many resources from the State that can benefit our County government,” stated Kawakami. “I pledge to maximize these opportunities for our community.”

Kawakami was appointed to the Hawaii State House representing the 14th District in 2011. Since then, he was re-elected twice and held a number of leadership positions, such as the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of Economic Development and Business. He is especially proud of bills that he worked on to pass in regards to public safety, a few of which focused on safe routes to school, distracted driving, violence in the presence of minors, and creating an additional bargaining unit for lifeguards and state law enforcement officers.

Kawakami is graduate of Kauai High School and Chaminade University. He has previously served on the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Board and County of Kauai Charter Commission. Kawakami is a former member of the Kauai Police Activities League Board, charter member of the Lihue Business Association, and played a role in getting wrestling into Kauai high schools as a sanctioned KIF sport. He and his wife Monica, a Kapaa Middle School teacher, have two children, Christopher and Hailee.

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