About Derek

Derek S.K. Kawakami is a 4th 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.

Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008-2011 and in the Hawaii State Legislature representing District 14 from 2011-2015.

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, Christopher and Hailee. The family has a Cooker Spaniel named Kina and Spring Spaniel named Persephone. He is the son of Charles and the late Arlene Kawakami.


2006  NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) Arlington, VA

  • Credentialed Cooperative Director

1997-2001 Chaminade University of Honolulu    Honolulu, HI

  • B.A., Business Administration

1996-1997 Kaua`i Community College     Lihue, HI
1991-1995 Kaua`i High School      Lihue, HI


  • Hawaii State House of Representatives

District 14 Representative

Honolulu, HI 2011-2016
  • Kauai County Council

Council member

Lihue, HI 2008-2011
  • County of Kaua`i Charter Commission


Lihue, HI 2007-2008
  • Kaua`i Economic Development Board

Food and Agriculture Committee Member

Lihue, HI 2007-Present
  • Kaua`i Police Activities League


Lihue, HI Former Board Member
  • Lihue Business Association


Lihue, HI 2007-Present
  • Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative

Director-Second Vice Chair

  • Executive Committee-Second Vice Chair
  • Strategic Planning Committee-Chair
  • Nominating Committee-Chair
  • Government Relations/Legislative Affairs Committee-Member
  • Policy Committee-Member
  • Credentialed Cooperative Director-Certified
Lihue, HI 2006-2008
  • Senator Daniel K. Inouye

Campaign Co-Chair

Lihue, HI 2004
  • Kiwanis


Lihue, HI 2004-Present
  • Big Save Inc.

Assistant Operations Manager

Lihue, HI 2002-Present
  • Derek’s Cool Runnings Shave Ice and Vending


Lihue, HI 1999-Present