The following is Derek’s plan for Kauai and Niihau. To hear more details, click on the below links to watch Derek on the following PBS Hawaii Mayoral Forums:
Click here to watch the Kauai Mayor Forum that aired on July 19, 2018.
Click here to watch the Kauai Mayor Forum that aired on September 27, 2018.



We have chronic traffic congestion on Kauai, and the problems are exacerbated by limited roadways, school and job commuting, and tourist activities.

  • Accelerate the implementation of new roads that have funding sources.
  • Implement the State’s Kapaa Traffic Solutions plan to mitigate the severe rush hour congestion to and from Lihue.
  • Expand the County Bus System to provide more routes and increased services during critical times.
  • Expand the deployment of roundabouts where appropriate.
  • Implement walkable communities with safe walking and biking zones within our urban town cores, and in particular along those routes to and from schools.
  • Re-evaluate adjusting County work hours so as not to contribute further to peak traffic hour congestion.



Local housing options are extremely limited, and affordable housing is especially scarce. This is an island-wide crisis.

  • Aggressively identify and implement “shovel ready” projects. Eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies and incentivize these projects so as to fast track their construction.
  • More than 60% of our jobs are in Lihue, yet less than 25% of our housing stock is in Lihue. We will expand alternatives to increase housing density in the Lihue Planning District. In-fill development will be promoted through infrastructure subsidy incentives to build to the maximum density to deploy more affordable housing options, promote “Smart Growth” principles and decrease commuter traffic.
  • Work with landowners and developers to create “Smart Growth” communities that promote live, work, and play principles. Smart Growth communities create retail and commercial jobs, offer convenient goods and services, and provide a variety of multi- and single-family housing options prioritizing affordability.
  • Increase emphasis on studio and one-bedroom units to expand opportunities for our young adults and kupuna. These smaller units will not significantly increase demand on services and infrastructure because the population density of these units are so much smaller.
  • Coordinate the County’s efforts with agencies to place families into homes via the Housing First program.
  • Partner with the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, Contractors Association, financial institutions, and other agencies to provide educational outreach to potential first-time homebuyers.
  • Aggressively increase enforcement against illegal vacation rentals.



We aspire to have a robust, diversified, and stable economy that provides secure jobs with living wages.

  • Implement measures to increase the efficiency and quality of County services with an emphasis on customer service.
  • Modernize County functions, including expansion of services offered on the internet and the use of satellite kiosks at neighborhood centers and libraries to provide basic County services.
  • Ensure safe, fair, and equitable workplaces that are free of discrimination and sexual harassment, and that promote gender equality.
  • Support educational programs that build the next-generation workforce of creative media and technology. In cooperation with the Kauai Community College, the County will support the creation of a Career Path internship program for our students, exposing them to the array of opportunities available.
  • Work with trades-and-crafts unions to expand licensing and apprenticeship programs for career training.
  • Develop a Kupuna Mentorship Program which links the wealth of knowledge of our retirees with our younger generations.
  • Increase the support provided to local entrepreneurs to create small businesses in cooperation with the Hawaii Small Business Development Center on Kauai and other community organizations and resources.



Kauai is one of the most beautiful and environmentally important places on Earth. It’s our responsibility to care for our land, water, and natural resources. In doing so, we need to support deployment of renewable energy to serve our needs.

  • The existing Kekaha municipal solid waste landfill is projected to reach capacity in the near future. The site for a new facility near Hanamaulu has been identified, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been released for public comment. We will continue to support and move the process forward, beginning operations at the new landfill before the Kekaha landfill reaches its limit.
  • Implement an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, and work with the private sector vendor to strengthen our green waste operations and recycling program, including considerations for on-island processing of recyclables.
  • Design and implement infrastructure and beautification projects to manage storm water runoff.
  • Expand our planning process to better understand and mitigate effects of global warming on Kauai.
  • Support the electrification of transportation in two specific ways:
  • Increase electric vehicles and buses for County operations.
  • Public-private partnerships to increase electric vehicle charging facilities in public places and parking lots
  • Support the deployment and expansion of renewable energy to serve our needs.
  • Many of our homes and commercial facilities need to convert their cesspools to septic or sewer systems. We will assist this conversion through innovative funding programs such as on-bill financing.
  • Work to achieve mutually satisfactory solutions for addressing the environmental issues at Mahaulepu in ways that respect the cultural heritage of the area.
  • Expand the installations of solar energy and storage systems at County facilities.



An important part of the stewardship is the protection of Kauai’s agricultural lands.  But more importantly, it is a critical part of our self-reliance, food security, our history and our economic diversity.

  • Promote local production for local consumption.
  • Work with State agencies to ensure that irrigation water is available to agricultural lands.
  • Advocate for watershed protection to ensure continued flow of water in wet seasons and dry and the maintenance of the plantation irrigation systems.
  • Support the establishment of rational instream flow standards that ensure both the protection of the native stream environment but also the availability of surface water for irrigation and supply domestic drinking water and to fulfill the many other uses to which water is put.



Living on Kauai with its cultural history, natural beauty, and diversified population, it’s important for our residents to lead healthy lifestyles, and have good employment and recreational opportunities, including access to premier public spaces.

  • Invest in our County Parks and improve maintenance of public facilities. Work with the communities to determine how our parks can better serve their needs.
  • Increase installation of outdoor gyms in our parks.
  • Encourage workplace health and wellness initiatives, and provide assistance for healthy lifestyle changes. These efforts will include investments in education on healthy eating and exercise habits.
  • Continue work on the coastal bike path to create an uninterrupted traffic-free route along our eastern coast, and investigate other locations for similar facilities.
  • Encourage the use of innovative and attractive architecture in our public and private spaces to make our island a more uplifting place to live, work, and play.
  • Re-establish partnerships with volunteer organization to coordinate beautification projects to build vested interest in our public spaces.
  • Implement free Wi-Fi in public spaces wherever possible.
  • Explore options for building additional skate parks and recreations facilities (e.g. pickle ball courts).
  • Continue to support the Kauai Marathon and explore opportunities to create similar high profile sporting events that will benefit our residents and attract visitors.


Public Safety

  • Introduced and passed a bill to ban the use of electronic devices while driving.
  • Introduced and passed HB 587 (2013) to amend the penal code to include persons in a dating relationship as family or household members for purposes of prohibiting physical abuse of family or household members. Also, increases the “cooling off” period of separation from 24 to 48 hours that a police officer is required to order a person to stay away if the officers has reasonable grounds to believe that a family or household member is in probable danger of further physical abuse.
    Introduced and passed HB1993 which increases the penalty for committing the act of physical abuse in the presence of a minor 14 years old and younger to a Class C Felony.
  • Introduced and Passed HB2626 Safe Routes to School which imposes a $10 surcharge and establishes a Safe Routes to School special fund. Created the Safe Routes to School program under the Department of Transportation. Establishes protocol to fund County Safe Routes to School programs.
  • HB1024 Lifeguard liability protection bill.
  • Introduced legislation that created bargaining unit 14 under HGEA ensuring fair representation for State Law enforcement officers and ocean safety and water safety officers
  • Appropriated funds to upgrade our public safety infrastructure for the Phase III Motorola 800 MHZ upgrade. ($2.1 million)
  • Was able to secure emergency funding for the Bypass of Kuhio Highway in Kilauea due to the heavy rains of 2012 that caused the collapse of a culvert.

Economic Development

  • Previously served on the Food & Agriculture Committee
  • Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development & Business.
  • Chairman of the Kauai County Council Committee on Economic Development and Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Introduced and Passed HB1069 which funds HTDC grant program for Small Business Innovation Research program phase II and Phase III awardees. This ensures support as innovators take their concept through the prototyping and manufacturing phase.
  • Collaborated with Senator Wakai to create the HTDC MAP (Manufacturing Assistance Program) to boost our state’s manufacturing industry by providing up to 20% or $100,000 for manufacturers to purchase equipment, train employees, or become more energy efficient.
  • Honored by the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) with their Small Business Leadership award. Each year NFIB honors a legislator who is an active advocate for small business and who understands small business concerns and the role small business plays in promoting a sound economy.
  • Introduced and passed HB775 appropriating funding to market Hawaii’s institutions of higher education to international students. This helps to further diversify our economy by attracting and promoting educational travel. In 2015 International students contributed $35.8 billion to our U.S. economy.
  • Introduced resolution and appropriations to create a master plan community for HHSC hospitals which include Mahelona and KVMH hospitals. Would create a master plan community that would include assisted living facilities, workforce housing, and commercial retail space to increase revenue stream for HHSC hospitals while providing needed services on our island.
  • Appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve on Hawaii’s Broadband Assistance Advisory Council
  • Appropriated funds for Moloaa Well and Post-harvest facilities. (3.05 million)
  • Appropriated funds to support the efforts of the East Kauai Water users cooperative. ($75,000)
  • Appropriated funds to support Kapaa High Schools career pathways program. ($1.9 million)
  • Appropriated funds for Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill ($247,000)
  • Appropriated funds for Waipa Foundation kitchen, poi mill, and hale imu ($200,000)
  • Appropriated funds to support the Kilauea Ag Park ($120,000)
  • Chaired the KIUC Strategic plan that set renewable energy goals of 50% by 2023.


  • Highways and Transportation
    • Lumahai slope stabilization
      • FY 2011-2012 $550,000
      • FY2012-2013 $2,000,000
      • FY 2014-2015 $2,000,000
      • FY 2016-2017 $150,000
    • Wainiha Bridges 1,2,3
      • FY 2011-2012 $10,000,000
      • FY 2013-2014 $500,000
      • FY 2014-2015 $170,000
      • FY 2016-2017 $15,000,000
    • Guardrails and shoulders
      • FY 2015-2016 $300,000
      • FY 2016-2017 $4,000,000
    • Mailihuna Road Intersection and Kapaa Stream Bridge
      • FY 2016-2017 $121,000
    • Hanalei River Breach-Repair, reinforce, and upgrade
      • FY 2011-2012 $1,000,000
      • FY 2012-2013 $1,100,000
      • FY 2013-2014 $1,000,000
      • FY 2014-2015 $1,500,000
    • Dams & Reservoirs Anahola
      • FY 2014-2015 $3,000,000
    • East Kauai Water Users Cooperative
      • FY 2012-2013 $75,000
    • Hanalei School-installation of waterlines to provide fire protection
      • FY 2012-2013
    • Lihue/Kapaa Water systems-homesteads no.4
      • FY 2016-2017 $750,000
    • Kilauea Elementary School-construction and renovation of cafeteria and administration offices
      • FY2013-2014 $1,520,000
      • FY 2016-2017 $514,000
    • Kapaa Elementary School- construction of a new library and replacement of the chain link fence
      • FY 2011-2012 $6,000,000
      • FY 2016-2017 $95,000
    • Hanalei Elementary School-Renovation of walkway, replace A/C units and repairs
      • FY 2016-2017 $514,000
    • Kilauea School-Installation of waterlines for fire protection
      • FY2013-2014 $1.3 million
    • Sheltered Bus Stops-construction along County highways
      • FY 2014-2015 $600,000
      • FY 2015-2016 $1,500,000

Public-Private Partnerships

  • As the Operations Manager of Menehune Food Mart, we partnered with the County of Kauai to serve as satellite locations for the sale of bus passes. Prior to this bus riders had to travel to Lihue to purchase bus passes.
  • As the Operations Manager of Menehune Food Marts, we partnered with the County of Kauai’s Life Choices program, the State of Hawaii Department of Education, Kapaa High School Athletics, Kapaa Middle School Arts program, and other local businesses to do the Menehune Food Mart makeover. This program removed all alcohol advertisements from the store and replaced them with family friendly advertisements focused on Kapaa High Warrior Athletics. We also beautified the outside by allowing the Kapaa Middle School Art class to do a mural with anti-drinking and driving messages. The result was a decrease in loitering and vandalism and increased public awareness of underage drinking.
  • Partnered with the Department of Education, Westside wrestling’s Ray “Coach Mac” Pigott, K.I.F. and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association to bring High School Wrestling to all four of Kauai’s High Schools. We were the last county to have wrestling as an HHSAA sanctioned sport.
  • Kawakami Furugen Fund partnered with Kauai Community College to support the Waialeale Project.
  • Introduced and appropriated funding for a community masterplan for Mahelona Hospital.