About Derek


Derek S.K. Kawakami is a 3rd generation Kauai resident, who has a passion for serving the people of Kauai. As a devoted spouse and father, Kawakami understands the importance of family, honoring our past, and building the future for our community. Click here to read his full resume.

Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008-2011 before a gubernatorial appointment to the Hawaii State Legislature representing District 14 from 2011-2015. Councilmember Kawakami was again elected to the Kauai County Council in 2016.

Kawakami participates in and has been a member of many community organizations. He was a charter member of the Lihue Business Association and played a role in getting wrestling into high schools as a sanctioned Kauai Interscholastic Federation sport.

Kawakami’s family has a long history of public service, and he is the third Kawakami to occupy a seat in the State House representing the Garden Isle. He follows the legacy of the late-Speaker Richard A. Kawakami and Representative Bertha Kawakami.

In his free time, Kawakami enjoys spending time with his family, stand up paddle boarding, hiking and Jiujitsu.

Kawakami and his wife Monica, a Kapaa Middle School teacher, have two children. The family has a Cocker Spaniel named Kina and Spring Spaniel named Persephone. He is the son of the late Charles and Arlene Kawakami.



EDUCATION NCREA (National Rural Electric Association)
Arlington, VA
Credentialed Cooperative Director
  Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii
Bachelors Degree –Business Administration
  Kauai Community College, Lihue, Hawaii 1996-1997
  Kauai High School, Lihue , Hawaii
High School Diploma
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE Hawaii State Legislature
House of Representatives-14th district
Chair, Economic Development & Business
Member of:

    • Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce
    • Committee on Judiciary
    • Committee on Tourism
    • Committee on Agriculture
    Committee on Veterans, Military & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts
  Vice Chair, Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection
Member of:

    • Committee on Finance
    • Committee on Water, Land & Ocean
    Committee on Housing
  Vice Chair, Committee on Commerce & Consumer Protection
Member of:

    • Committee on Judiciary
    • Committee on Water and Land
    • Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection
    Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs
  Assistant Majority Leader 2014
  Kauai County Council  
  Chair, Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Vice Chair, Committee of the Whole
Member of:

    • Economic Development & Renewable Strategies Committee
    • Public Safety & Environmental Services Committee
    Finance/Parks & Recreation/Public Works Committee
  Chair, Public Safety/energy/Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Member of:

    • Budget and Finance Committee
    • Economic Development and Housing Committee
    • Public Works and Elderly Affairs Committee
    • Planning Committee
    • Parks and Transportation Committee
    Committee of the Whole
GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Member 2011-Present
  Broadband Advisory Council, Member 2011-Present
  Hawaii Aerospace Caucus 2011-Present
  President, Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC) 2014
  Board Member, National Association of Counties (NACo) 2008-2011
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Board Member, Kauai Economic Development Board (KEDB)

    Member, Food and Agricultural Committee
  Board Member, Kauai Police Activities League (KPAL) 2007-2014
  Board Member, Lihue Business Association (LBA) 2007-2009
  Second Vice Chair, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC)

    • Committee Chair, Strategic Planning
    • Chair, Nominating Committee
    • Member, Government Relations/
    Legislative Affairs Committee
  Member, Kiwanis Club
Member, Catholic Charities Advisory Committee
WORK EXPERIENCE Operations Manager,Menehune Food Mart, Inc 2004-present
  Operations Manager,Big Save , Inc 2004-present
  • Operations Manager, Menehune Food Marts
  • Operations Big Save Inc.
  • President Eleele Associates (Eleele Shopping Center)
  • Secretary Haupu Associates (Rice Shopping Center)
  • Director Kahili Associates (Kapaa Shopping Center)
  • President Commercial Properties
  • President H.S. Kawakami Stores
  • President MFM Inc.
  • Certified Subway Restaurant Franchisee Manager Trainer