Register to Vote!

We encourage all eligible Kauai residents to register to vote and participate in this year’s election. Here is information from the State of Hawaii Office of Elections on voter registration:

You can register online, or by submitting a Voter Registration & Permanent Absentee Application by mail or in-person. Applications must be received by your Clerk’s Office by:

Primary: July 12
General: October 8

If you miss the above application deadline, late registration is available at Early Walk In Voting locations in your county during the following dates:

Primary: July 30 – August 9
General: October 23 – November 3

Or, on Election Day at your assigned polling place. Use the Find My Polling Place Locator to locate your polling place.

Primary: August 11
General: November 6

More info: 
Voter registration
Frequently Asked Questions

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Posted in updates |

Kawakami To Run For Mayor

Bringing unity to government, community

LIHUE, HAWAII, Oct. 5, 2017 – Councilmember Derek S.K. Kawakami announced that he will run for County of Kauai Mayor in the 2018 election to a crowd of supporters today on Rice Street.

“I am humbled and blessed to have served the residents of Kaua`i and Ni`ihau for many years as a KIUC Director, District 14 Representative in the State Legislature, and Councilmember for several terms,” said Kawakami. “Through these roles, I have worked diligently to benefit our island, such as being the Chair of the KIUC Strategic Planning Committee in 2006 that set the goal to generate 50% of our electricity with renewable energy by 2020 and securing more than $141 million in Capital Improvement Funding for Kauai with our legislative team in 2016. I am running for Mayor because I want to make an even greater difference in the lives of our families, from keiki to kupuna.”

Affordable housing, traffic, and creating more resources for all including new and growing businesses are priorities in which Kawakami will focus on should he be elected as Mayor.

“We need to take action on these issues now to alleviate hardships that our residents face daily,” he said.

“For me, it’s simple; I’m a dad and I want my children and all of our keiki to have the opportunity to live, work and thrive right here on Kauai when they become adults,” he continued. “To do so, we need to work together to improve the present and set the foundation for the next generation.”

In addition to his government roles, Kawakami has worked in various capacities for his family’s businesses, which have included Big Save, Menehune Food Mart, Happy Kauaian, Kauai Kookie, Kauai Kitchen, Kukui Nut Tree Inn, Subway Restaurants, and Kapaa and Kilauea Shell Gas Stations.

Kawakami adds, “My experiences in the public and private sectors have equipped me for the administrative role of Mayor. From financial management to human resource matters, investments, contingency planning, public safety issues, and more, I am eager to delve into the daily operations of our County.”

Kawakami describes himself as a collaborator and leader who is able to bring people, groups, and businesses of all backgrounds and interests, as well as governments agencies of all levels to the table, to “talk story,” and produce innovative solutions for the island.

“My hope is to bring unity into our government and community so that we are able to take action faster and with more harmony,” he noted.

A graduate of Kauai High School and Chaminade University, Kawakami is a 3rd-generation Kauai resident of Japanese and Native Hawaiian descent whose leadership style prioritizes honoring the island’s past as he moves toward the future.

“Our ancestors, in ancient Hawaii to those of the plantation days, taught us wonderful lessons about managing our natural resources; working hard; and peacefully melding a community of different cultures,” stated Kawakami. “Our responsibility is to build on their best practices and elevate ourselves using smart, creative strategies.”

Kawakami supports preserving our environment and culture, creating more jobs, increasing opportunities in education, as well as stimulating a diverse economy that maintains the island’s strength in tourism and renewable energy and makes greater strides in health and wellness, high technology, agriculture, and culture and the arts.

“When you see me out and about, please feel free to come talk with me about your dreams and concerns are for our island,” he said. “Working together is the key to our success, and I want to hear from you.”

Kawakami resides in Lihue with his wife Monica, a teacher at Kapaa Middle School and their children. For more information, visit

Posted in Uncategorized |

August 28, 2016 – Join us at the Paina with Derek, Come Eat and Talk Story


Posted in news, updates |

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.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Passed Bills Introduced by Rep. Kawakami


HB2626 HD2 SD2 CD1



Electric Vehicles; Parking and Charging Stations; Financing

DBEDT to determine mechanisms to assist private parking lot owners with costs associated with providing parking stalls and charging units for electric vehicles.


HB587 HD1 SD1 CD1

RELATING TO THE PENAL CODE. (includes persons dating/relationship. 48-hour period of separation)


Kilauea Point Lighthouse; Daniel K. Inouye

Requesting U.S. Congress to rename Kilauea Point Lighthouse located on Kauai in honor of the late Senator.


Genetically Modified Foods; Federal; Labeling

Requesting U.S. Congress to support legislation requiring the Dept. of Ag and FDA create a system to monitor, label, and enforce labeling of all whole and processed genetically engineered foods.


HB1024 HD1 SD2


HB1993 SD2 CD1

RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. (Physical abuse in presence of a minor under fourteen is a class C felony)


Graffiti, Pilot Program, HI State Foundation on Culture and the Arts


Hokulea; Worldwide voyage


Hokulea, Year of the Worldwide Voyage; 2014


Hokulea and Crew; Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage


HB775 HD1 SD1 CD1

RELATING TO EDUCATION. (marketing Hawaii and Hawaii’s higher education institutions to international students)

HB1069 HD1 SD2 CD1

RELATING TO TECHNOLOGY. (HTDC appropriates funds for grants, phase II or phase III award)

HCR189 HD1 SD1

Broadband, resort areas, universal wireless access


Jiu Jitsu; DOE and HHSAA sanctioned sport

2016 – Bill that passed, awaiting Governor’s signature

HB2669 HD1 SD1


  • Add the following dated May 31, 2016

District 14 CIP, GIA Summary


Capital Improvement Projects


Hanalei river – $1,000,000

Kuhio highway slope stabilization $550,000

Kuhio highway – Hanamaulu to Kapaa – $7,500,000

Kuhio highway – Wainiha bridges 1, 2 and 3 – $11,000,000

Kapaa Elementary school – $6,000,000


Kuhio Highway Slope Stabilization by Lumahai – $400,000

Hanalei Boat Ramp – $2,000,000

Hanalei Water System – $125,000


Kilauea School – water line – $1,300,000

Kilauea Elementary School – renovate old cafeteria and administrative office spaces


Hanalei River – $1,000,000

Wainiha Bridge – $500,000


Kapaa High School – Academies – $1,600,000

Kauai County Sheltered Bus Stops – $500,000

Hanalei River – $1,500,000


Hanahanapuni Firing Range – $424,000, $1.2M in federal funds

Plan and design of a firing range 

Waiakea Boat Canal Improvements – $500,000

Plan and design for reconstruction of trailer and vehicle parking lot. Boat wash down area and pavilion; dredge of canal; removal and replacement of navigational aids.

Moloaa Well and Post-Harvest Facility – $3,050,000

Plans, land acquisition, design and construction for a water well, alternate energy to power the well, and onsite, post-harvest facility to comply with food safety modernization act.

Guardrail and Shoulder Improvements – $300,000

Design and construction for installing and/or upgrading of guardrails, end terminals, transitions, bridge railings, bridge end posts and crash attenuators; and reconstructing and paving of shoulders.

Kauai County Sheltered Bus Stops – $1,500,000

Finances Phase III construction of 49 sheltered bus stops along State highways and collector roads.  Construction for Phase III, stops along state highways and collector roads, Americans with disabilities act compliant pads, transition accessibility, lighting, trash and recycling receptacles and bicycle racks.

Motorola 800 mhz Upgrade Phase III, Kauai, County of Kauai – $2,100,000

County of Kauai – Construction and equipment for phase III of public safety communications infrastructure to achieve p25 compliance.


Hawaiian Home Lands Dams and Reservoirs – $3,000,000

Construction for remediation improvements on four dams and reservoirs in Anahola

Hanahanapuni Firing Range – $1,200,000 federal funds – FY 2016

Plans and design for firing range.

Waiakea Canal Boat Ramp – $500,000 – FY 2016

Plans and design for reconstruction and renovation of trailer and vehicle parking lot, boat wash down are and pavilion; dredge canal; removal and replacement of navigational aids

Lihue/Kapaa water system homesteads well no. 4 – 750,000 – FY 2017

Plans, design and construction to drill, test and develop a well source at County of Kauai – Ornellas’ tank site

Kuhio Highway Improvements – $600,000 federal funds, $150,000 revenue bond funds – FY 2016

Kapaia Stream Bridge

Waioli, Waipa, Waikoko Bridges – $680,000 federal funds, $170,000 revenue bond funds – FY 2017

Wainiha Bridges #1, 2, and 3 – $12,000,000 federal funds, $3,000,000 revenue bond funds – FY 2017

Lumahai Hillside along Kuhio Highway – $150,000
Construction for slope stabilization

Hanamaulu to Kapaa – $11,600,000 (federal funds), $2,900,000 revenue bond funds – FY 2016, $6,800,000 (federal funds), $1,700,000 revenue bond funds – FY 2017

New Kapaa Bypass and/or widen sections of highway

Mailihuna Road Intersection Improvements and Kapaa Stream Bridge Rehab/Replacement – $1,000 federal funds, $120,000 (revenue bond funds) – FY 2017

DOE Lump Sum will provide:

Hanalei Elementary School

A-B Covered walkway replace pipe columns: $150,000

Replace Air conditioning unit: $100,000

Misc R&M FY13: 264,000

Kapaa Elementary

Replace chainlink fence at Cafeteria: $95,000

Kapaa High School

Replace switch gear enclosure: $300,000

R, S, C Reroof: $2,000

Grant in Aids


Waipa Foundation – $200,000

Construction for Waipa Kitchen, poi mill, and hale imu. This project qualifies as a grant, pursuant to chapter 42F, HRS.


Malama Kauai – $120,000

Construction for the development of Kilauea Agricultural Park. This project qualifies as a grant, pursuant to chapter 42F, HRS.

Aha Hui E Kala, Kauai – $300,000

Design and construction for infrastructure improvements at the lawai international center. This project qualifies as a grant, pursuant to Chapter 42F, HRS.


Hoomana – $88,000

Construction for renovations for the training center facility. This project qualifies as a grant, pursuant to chapter 42F, HRS.


Moloaa Well and Post-Harvest Facility – $3,050,000

Plans, land acquisition, design and construction for water well, alt energy to power well, and onsite, post-harvest facility to comply with food safety modernization act.

Aha Hui E Kala – $500,000

Construction for the education center at Lawai International Center. This project qualifies as a grant, pursuant to Chapter 42F, HRS.

Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill – $247,000

Addressing crop depredation by endangered birds, which threaten the sustainability of Hawaii’s food industry.

Posted in news |

Aloha Friends,

Aloha friends,

Recently, I have been contemplating a decision that has been weighing on me for a while. After much deliberation, my family and I have decided that it’s time for me to come back home on a full-time basis. In the five years that I have served in the State Legislature, I have seen and experienced how quickly life happens and how fast time flies.  While I wholeheartedly love doing the work of a Representative, the call to return home has been overwhelming.  Kauai is the best place in the world, and I am truly excited to spend my days at home with my family and with all of you.  That being said, I am also excited to announce that I will be seeking a seat on our County Council in the upcoming election.

There were tremendous changes in my life recently, which has led me reflect on how important it is for me to spend more time with my family. We only have one chance to raise our children and honor our parents. I’m coming home to do just that and continue serving the people of Kauai and Niihau. Together, we will build a brighter future for our keiki and protect and honor our kupuna.

I want to thank the people of Kauai, Niihau, and the residents of the beautiful 14th District for allowing me to serve them as a former County Council member and as State Representative. It is a tremendous honor and privilege. Thank you to all of my staff members. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside such a loyal and hardworking group that serves with the best interests of Kauai and the 14th District at heart each day.  You are all family to me, and I am indebted to you.  I have had a tremendous experience with my colleagues in the House of Representatives and of course the Kauai delegation, including Senate President Ron Kouchi, Representatives Jimmy Tokioka and Dee Morikawa and their amazing staff. All of you mean so to me and have done so much for me that I will always be thankful for your help. I know that we will continue to work together.  I am most appreciative for the friendship and bond that we have built. The collaborative spirit and ability to work so closely as a delegation is rare. Together, we have been able to bring a lot of resources to the 14th District and Kauai and pass meaningful legislation for our State.  

A special thank you goes out to my entire family for their love and support.  I am especially thankful for my wife Monica, our children Christopher and Hailee, my dad, and my mom, who passed away last year and who we miss so dearly. They have all made sacrifices and accommodations for me to be able to serve our community, and I am forever grateful.

I am excited to return home and be closer to my family and all of you. I am, after all, a Kauai boy through and through, and being able to live and work at home is priceless. I look forward to a great island-wide campaign and to continue serving you all.  It’s been a great run. I look forward to this new journey.

Mahalo and Aloha,


Posted in news |

2014 Kauai District 14 Re-election Campaign is Underway

“I want to thank the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau for bestowing upon me the honor of being able to serve them,” said Kawakami. “It is a privilege that I hold near and dear to my heart. This is not a job, this is a passion. The ability to wake up everyday and have the goal of creating a brighter future for the next generation is something that drives me. To be able to strengthen our educational system so that our keiki have a jump start on life, laying the foundation that strikes the right balance of creating economic opportunity while preserving what we love most about our island. Ensuring that our kupuna are honored and taken care of. Our environment, our sense of place, our Aloha spirit. There is no place in the world that is like our beloved island, we must fight to protect her.”

As a Representative of the 14th Leader as well as the Vice Chair of the Committee of Consumer Protection and Commerce. He is also a member of the Judiciary; Water and Land; Energy and Environmental Protection; and Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs committees.

The 36-year-old Kawakami has nearly a decade of experience in public office. Since being elected in 2006 to the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Board of Directors and serving on the Kaua‘i County Council from 2008-2011, Kawakami’s commitment to the community has been one of honoring the past and building the future. Kawakami approaches his bid for reelection with that same consistency of building bridges of consensus to reach creative solutions to problems that the island of Kaua‘i and the State of Hawai‘i face today.

In the Legislature, Kawakami worked hard to pass HB2626, more commonly known as the Safe Routes to School Bill. The bill created a funding mechanism to appropriate money to the counties to create safe zones that promote walking and bicycling to school. Hawai‘i is the first in the nation to have a statewide Safe Routes to School initiative because of this particular measure. Since the passage of this bill, more than $1.1 million has been appropriated to the County of Kaua‘i through the Safe Routes to School Program.

With Public Safety in mind and in collaboration with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Kawakami was also successful in passing HB1993 that makes the act of physical abuse in the presence of a minor a class C felony. He noted, “We were tired of seeing heartbreaking cases where innocent children were subjected to acts of violence, and felt that the punishment should fit the crime. Our commitment to creating a safe environment for our keiki is paramount.”

Kawakami’s efforts have also paid off in protecting our county lifeguards by passing HB1024. “This particular measure is especially important for our lifeguards at Ke‘e beach,” he said. “Our lifeguards put their lives on the line for us everyday, it is only right that we shield them with protection while they are guarding our keiki, our kupuna, our residents, and visitors.”

Kawakami also serves as the House representative on the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council and the Hawai‘i Broadband Assistance Advisory Council. Kawakami’s proven track record dates back to his service on the KIUC Board and Kaua‘i County Council. He was the second vice chair of the KIUC Board as well as the chair of its Strategic Planning Committee that set the benchmark of achieving 50% of renewable energy by 2023, a goal that sets the bar higher than what the State of Hawai‘i set.

Kawakami has more than 12 years of business experience in operations at Big Save, Inc. and MSM, Inc. He brings his private sector expertise to his work in government. “When I was elected to the County Council in 2008, we were faced with most dire economic outlook since the Great Depression,” said Kawakami. “While the county and state faced the harsh reality of doing more with less, so was our business community and more importantly, our everyday working class men and women. At Big Save, Inc., we were tasked with making necessary cuts to our operation while maintaining core services to the community. In my roles both in government and business, I worked with my colleagues to make hard decisions to weather the storm. The right decision is oftentimes not a popular one, but it takes courage and vision to be able to make those tough choices with the future in mind.”

As a Kaua‘i County Councilmember, Kawakami served as the chair of the Committee on Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations and the vice chair of the Committee of the Whole. He also served as the president of the Hawai‘i Association of Counties.

Raised on Kaua‘i and a graduate of Kaua‘i High School and Chaminade University, Kawakami spends his spare time as member of the Kiwanis, Kaua‘i Police Activities League Board, Advisory Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Kaua‘i, and volunteering as a coach for AYSO soccer. He also played a role in getting wrestling into our high schools as a sanctioned KIF sport. “Giving back to the community is something that was instilled in us from the very beginning,” he stated. It is a part of my life just like being a husband, a father, and a part of the greatest place on Earth, our home, Kaua‘i. I would be honored to continue to serve District 14 for another term.”

Kawakami resides in Kapahi with his wife Monica and his children Christopher and Hailee.

Posted in news, updates |

Aloha Mr. Mayor Kawakami
Mahalo for your expertise on handling situations that occur beyond our control. It's been a bad experience waiting to cross the Hanalei hillside as I watch tourist make the quota to cross while we locals need to wait to cross, get to work and get the youngsters out to school. It's been difficult for the residents of Northshore. It has become stressful again and it doesn't help my health. Please arrange for shuttle to the deep country. This will help with less cars taking up local space and kamaaina rights. We are glad to share our beautiful island but please Locals first Mayor Kawakami. We still struggling while new comers are happy on vacation within our pae aina. Mahalo for your care for us. Also with Gov. Ige Please look at our islands as self sufficient and not all tourism. We risk our health and children and our Kupuna. Mahalo for your time.

Indegenious species,
Antoinette Alapai
Hanalei valley
Ohiki Road

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2 months ago

Jo Amsterdam

Mahalo Mayor Kawakami for helping the homeless stay healthy during our Virus Outbreak. Please reconsider moving them and taking all their stuff again. If we had places for these people to live other than the beach parks, then moving them into these places would be kind. Since we don't have another safe place for them it certainly is not kind or safe. Please let the community know how we can help you figure this out. We are all in this life together...and there is a reason we are here right now. ...

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