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Incumbent Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami easily advances to the Nov. 8 election

                                Incumbent Kauai mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami will advance to the November general election.
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Incumbent Kauai mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami will advance to the November general election.

Incumbent Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami received a majority of the votes in the primary election for the county mayoral race and will advance to the Nov. 8 general election with first-time candidate Michael Roven Poai.

Poai, a county parks and recreation employee and two other candidates — Mitch McPeek, a self-employed carpenter/maintenance handyman and Megeso-William Denis, a former Fortune 500 company executive — trailed behind Kawakami by a wide margin.

“We’re very pleased with the results,” Kawakami said Saturday night. “It’s a testament to the people that I have been able to surround myself with over my lifetime whether it was at work at Big Save, our campaign team who has just given so much time and effort, to my family, my wife, my daughter, my son whose made tremendous sacrifices.”

“And our administration, I got a great team. I let them do their work. I support them and they go out there and deliver,” he added.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kawakami took an aggressive approach to manage the spread of the virus by implementing an islandwide nighttime curfew. The emergency rule occurred months before vaccines and boosters became available to residents. Airline travel to and from Kauai was also limited to essential needs only.

If re-elected to a second term, Kawakami aims to continue with improvements to the island’s infrastructure, increase enforcement against illegal vacation rentals and secure more affordable housing. “We really want to identify sites that are practical, meaning there’s existing infrastructure or infrastructure (that) would be easy to bring in,” Kawakami said of expanding affordable housing.

Prior to his first mayoral term, Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008 to 2011 before he was appointed to the state House. After five years, Kawakami rejoined the county council.

In the Kauai County Council race, 19 candidates vied for the seven at-large seats. The top 14 candidates who received the most votes will advance to the general election.

Incumbent councilmembers Bernard Carvalho Jr., Luke Evslin, Kipukai Kualii, Felicia Cowden and Billy DeCosta and candidates Addison Bulosan, Mel Rapozo, Fern Anuenue Holland, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros, Ross Kagawa, Lila Metzger, Nelson Mukai, Roy Saito and Rachel Secretario were the top 14 candidates in the county council race following the second printout results.

Go to https://staradvertiser.com/election for updates, resources and live results from today’s Hawaii Primary Election.

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