Full Name: Derek S.K. Kawakami
Name on Ballot: Derek S.K. Kawakami
District: Kauai County
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Job: State House of Representatives; Eleele Associates president
Place of birth: Hilo
Campaign website: derekkawakami.com
Job history past 10 years:
Big Save Inc. operations, 2002-2011
Menehune Food Mart operations, 2002-2016
Eleele Associates, president
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, 2006-2008
>> Strategic Planning Committee, chairman
>> Nominating Committee, chairman
Kauai County Council, 2008-2011
>> Intergovernmental Relations Committee, chairman
>> Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations Committee, chairman
>> Committee of the Whole, vice chairman
Hawaii State Association of Counties, president
National Association of Counties, board member
Hawaii State House of Representatives, 2011-2016
>> House Committee on Economic Development and Business, chairman
>> House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, vice chairman
>> Assistant majority leader
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Yes, I ran for Kauai Island Utility board of directors in 2006 and was elected. Ran for Kauai County Council in 2008 and was elected. In 2010, I was re-elected to the County Council and ended up being the top vote getter. In 2011, I was appointed to the state House of Representatives District 14. In 2012, I was elected to the state House. In 2014, I was re-elected to the state House.
Other civic experience or community service?
>> Kauai Economic Development Board, Food and Agriculture Committee
>> Kauai Police Activities League, board member
>> Lihue Business Association, board member
>> Kiwanis Club, member
>> Catholic Charities Advisory Committee, Member
>> Richard A Kawakami Foundation, Golf Tournament Planning Committee
>> HSK/NFK/Furugen Foundation, Advisory Committee
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I am the father of two humans and two dogs. I have been with my wife who is also my best friend for over 19 years, 12 of them as husband and wife. My favorite place to be is on Kauai, in the ocean, surrounded by friends and family.
What makes you qualified to be a Council member?
I believe that my diverse background in both the public sector and private sector qualifies me as a viable candidate. I have over 20 years in the grocery and food industry and has served in elected office for over 10 years as well.
What is your one big idea?
To find appropriate ways to run government more like a business. When we are running a business we make fiscally sound decisions because at the end of the day, we have no safety net. I would like to see government be more innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit.
What steps can the Council take to reduce the county’s backlog of road repairs?
The Council can prioritize road repairs through appropriations and working collaboratively with the Administration. However, there are many challenges that may arise that could delay projects unexpectedly. Procurement issues, bid protests, environmental issues, and cultural and historical challenges may arise that we have no control over.
The Kekaha Landfill has about 10 years of life left. What alternative waste disposal methods should the county take up?
I have always supported curbside recycling. I believe that if you make things easy and convenient, participation will follow. It’s definitely an investment up front, but I believe that the payoff will justify the cost. Once we have a robust recycling program we should explore waste to energy conversion.
What should the county do to help house the homeless on Kauai?
The homeless problem needs to be addressed holistically. It’s not as simple as building shelters or creating safe havens. We need to support efforts being made by our faith-based communities and non-profits as well. These folks are on the front lines providing food, clothing, and health services.