LIHU‘E — After four years in office, Mayor Derek Kawakami officially announced his intention to run for re-election later this year.
“Our community has overcome many challenges these past few years, from floods and landslides to a global pandemic,” Kawakami said in a news release. “I’m proud of our team and our community. We have a lot of projects and initiatives on the horizon and we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
Over the course of his years in office, Kawakami has faced the COVID-19 pandemic in his first year in office, and taken on customer-service initiatives, such as implementing a no-wait system at the Finance Department Motor Vehicle Registration Division and placing vehicle-registration kiosks across the island for renewals.
The county has also developed its first transitional housing project on Kaua‘i, Ke Alaula at Pua Loke in Lihu‘e, where houseless individuals can seek temporary housing, complete with wrap-around services to help them transition into permanent homes.
“We’re ready to jump start our economy with continued capital improvement projects, focusing on upgrading Kaua‘i’s aging infrastructure, improving park courts and playgrounds and repaving our roads,” Kawakami said. “We have several more affordable-housing projects in the works, and we’re ready to find solutions for our landfill and solid-waste-management issues.”
Kawakami served on the Kaua‘i County Council from 2008 to 2011 before being appointed to the state House of Representatives. In 2016, Kawakami left his seat at the Legislature for a two-year term on the County Council. He also served on the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors.
He first ran for mayor in 2018, and won with over 65% of the vote against then-Council Chair Mel Rapozo. Kawakami took office on Dec. 3, 2018.
Later this month, on March 15, Kawakami will give his State of the County address.
Source: The Garden Island