LIHUE — Rep. Derek Kawakami announced Thursday he will not seek to keep his seat in the Legislature and will instead run for Kauai County Council this year.
Kawakami currently serves as District 14 (Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa and Wailua) representative.
“While I wholeheartedly love doing the work of a representative, the call to return home has been overwhelming,” he said. “My children are growing up and I want to spend this precious time closer to family. Being back on Kauai full-time offers me direct contact with our people and the issues that impact quality of life.”
Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008 to 2011. On April 1, 2011 Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Kawakami to the Hawaii State House as the member representing the 14th House District. A vacancy in the 14th House District occurred when former Rep. Hermina M. Morita was appointed by the governor as the chair of the state Public Utilities Commission. Kawakami has served in this capacity since then, winning two re-election races.
“While I have decided to serve our community in a different capacity, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the fire that burns within me to continue serving the people of Kauai and Niihau to build a brighter future for our keiki and protect and honor our kupuna,” Kawakami said.
Raised on Kauai and a graduate of Kauai High School and Chaminade University, Kawakami has previously served as a Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Board member and County of Kauai Charter Commission member.