Kawakami: ‘solid business background’ a plus

Kapa’a resident Derek S.K. Kawakami has never run for any elected office before, but said he feels he has a lot to offer if elected to the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors.

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of stories on the seven candidates for three seats on the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors. Members have been mailed out ballots, which include a voter guide. Ballots are due to KIUC headquarters in Kukui Grove Village West by 4 p.m. March 18.

“I hope to bring to the board a solid business background, and a lot of honesty and integrity,” he said.

Kawakami is the assistant operations manager for Big Save convenience stores, the Menehune Food Marts, the stores located at the Shell gas stations in Kapa’a and Kilauea, and two resort gift shops.

Coming from a business background, Kawakami pointed out that everything has to be done through teamwork.

If elected to the board, Kawakami noted that he would get along well with the rest of the board members.

“I am a great team player,” he said.

Kawakami was nominated by gathering 35 signatures of members on member petitions.

He is one of seven candidates who are running for three openings on the board. The three openings have terms of three years.

A director is one of nine elected representatives of the members of KIUC who collectively constitute the board of directors, according to the KIUC bylaws.

Members of the board govern the business and affairs of KIUC, and are generally concerned with the broad courses of action to be followed by the utility, and not involved in the day-to-day utility operations, the bylaws state.

Board members are paid stipends of $150 a day, or a portion thereof, to conduct board business.

Kawakami said he is running because it is important that the younger generation, those between 18 to 35, should have some kind of representation on the KIUC board.

“A lot of our future and opportunities rely on decisions we make today. I am really concerned about the future of KIUC,” he said.

Kawakami noted that he would bring a different perspective to the board. That perspective includes looking at “green” energy.

“Fossil fuels are limited, and there are a lot of alternative-energy sources. Growing up in that generation, I got to see the ‘green’ way of living,” he said.

“I have a lot to offer,” said Kawakami.

“When you think about the future of Kaua’i, I think it would be a good investment to have me serve on the board in the long run,” he said.

Kawakami holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Chaminade University of Honolulu, and is Kaua’i campaign co-chair for U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai’i.

“I pledge to listen to members and be a loyal, unselfish voice for a generation often unspoken for,” he said.

“My decisions will be made in the best interest of Kaua’i’s people and future. I humbly ask for your consideration and vote.”


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