Mukai files for council run

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    Kapaa man Nelson Mukai is running for Kauai County Council.

LIHUE — Kapaa resident Nelson Mukai, 54, has thrown his hat into the race for Kauai County Council.

“I want Kauai to be the most beautiful place in the world, The Garden Island, being The Garden of Eden, just seeing beautiful agriculture, enough housing going around, affordable housing,” he said.

Born and raised on Kauai, Mukai graduated from Kapaa High School in 1982 and then went on to earn a business degree. For 27 years, he worked in the business field, until he went back to college as a non-traditional student, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

“I was always interested in politics, but I never got around to it,” he said. “I’m ready to run for Kauai County Council.”

For Mukai, who is a substitute teacher at Kapaa High School, educating the public is an important aspect of why he decided to run for office. Not only does he substitute teach, he often spends time at student events after school, so they know him well.

“I work with students at the high schools, they all kind of know me because I attend both the activities, the sporting activities and the (other activities) students have in the high school. I enjoy working with the kids,” he said.

As an educator, Mukai said he’d like to see more schools built on Kauai and see Waimea High School get back on it’s feet.

Also of concern for Mukai, are the traffic and infrastructure problems facing Kauai. His solution, he said would be to open Loop Road and add a third lane between Puhi and Knudsen’s Gap, so contra-flow can be set up for those on the Westside.

“There’s a road in back of Nounou Mountain and Mt. Kalepa, that connects between Wailua Houselots and Lihue and I think we should build that road so that we can alleviate some of those traffic congestion between Kapaa and Lihue,” he said.

Opening Loop Road, that goes all the way to Anahola, would involve building a couple of bridges, but that could easily be done while staying within the budget, he said.

Since Kauai is known as The Garden Island, Mukai said he’d like to see the expansion of local agriculture. In order to do that, he said it needs to be easier for local farmers to sell their goods on other islands.

“I’m in favor of having a shuttle, the shuttle boat that they were going to have. I want to see something like that so we can ship our produce to Oahu where it’s easier to sell. On Kauai it’s too small a population to sell produce, so they have to make it easier to sell produce and most of the population in Hawaii are on Oahu,” he said.

This is Mukai’s first time running for a political office and most likely won’t be his last.

“I’ll just try my best. I always grew up with politics and I think I can do a good job as a politician and a County Council member,” he said.


Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or

  1. manawai May 23, 2018 6:47 am Reply

    Finally some vehicles to get there vs. simply stating destinations like most other candidates.

  2. Charlie Chimknee May 23, 2018 6:58 am Reply

    Aloha Mr. Mukai,

    There’s a road behind Nonou Mt. and Mt. Kalepa that connects Houselots and LIHUE,…really ? Did you mean in back of like MAUKA?And would that require a 4 lane road to and from a 4 lane bridge over Wailua River on Kauai County’s BUDGET? ; and building a standard road out of Loop Road all the way to Anahola, with a couple of lore bridges, and would that be from the Tree Tunnel to Poipu? And still on the County Budget?

    A least the Great Mahele was free and did not require any roads and bridges outside of what existed. But these 2 projects would look like what, if they were done on the County Budget?

    Kaua’i seems to be increasing in speed to keep up with America and its demands on the the already stressed people of Kaua’i; one good thing about the traffic problem is that it is slowing things down, the traffic crawl will serve to lessen the amount of frustrated visitors and we can hold onto at least what we still got left before our formerly pristine and tranquil piece of paradise goes up and away in a single “volcanic burp” of Oahu-ism.

    It seems Kaua’i has a new breed on new politicians, and that they are terrifically optimistic.



  3. Janoah Yound May 23, 2018 12:39 pm Reply

    What do you mean by Waimea High School back on its feet? This school has been great for our student who previously graduated from St Theresa school. She was offered and able to take many college courses and will be taking a full college course load her senior year of high school. Waimea High School rocks!!

  4. Nelson Mukai November 18, 2020 8:58 am Reply


    I’m happy for you and your children!

  5. Nelson Mukai November 18, 2020 9:04 am Reply

    Aloha mr Yound

    With global warming, I’m afraid Lihue highway will someday be under water

    That’s why I made this predicament of building an alternate route to Lihue

    Thank you for your comment

    Mr Mukai

    1. Nelson Mukai November 18, 2020 9:16 am Reply

      I meant to say Kuhio highway

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