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 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

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

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

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

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