HERE ARE YOUR CHOICES for MAYOR for the COUNTY of KAUAʻI
SEVEN Candidates for Mayor, County of Kauaʻi
Vote for no more than ONE
The top TWO in the Primary advance to the General
Whom will You choose?
Honestly, this is a very tough race.
Derek Kawakami, heir to the political and financial fortunes of the Kawakami Clan, and their Big Save empire, has been running for Mayor ever since I met him a more than a decade ago, maybe longer. Back then, it was his very first political race, running as a voice of the young generation, someone of “his age” stepping up to serve as one of the Directors of KIUC, back when still had some baby fat. Since then, he has been focused and driven, increasingly lean, carefully advancing his political career like a young chess protege, clearly thinking several moves in advance.
It has been impressive to watch him slide from KIUC, to County council, then suddenly swoop up Mina Moritaʻs open seat (by appointment) way up in the 14th district, that he perhaps lived in…. Several terms essentially unopposed at the state legislature gave him plenty of time to make good Oʻahu connections, both financial & political, such that when he ‘came back home’ two election cycles ago and got himself elected by a landslide to the council, nobody didnʻt know he was back home right on schedule to get ready to run for Mayor as soon as Bernard termed out in 2018. Like a well-oiled machine.
And well-financed. It recently came out in the news the Kawakami Campaign had raised almost $300,000.00, an almost unheard of sum for a mayorʻs race on tiny Kauaʻi — more than all the other major mayoral candidates combined. Derekʻs claims of pride for “so much support from so many sectors of society”, never addressed the revelations that 1/3 of it was from Developers, Construction Trade Unions AKA Oʻahu & Mainland money. Not good.
The greasy optics of so much off-island money bankrolling a young mayor on-record as questioning traditional height restrictions for building on Kauaʻi are just terrible. It takes very little imagination to be concerned that perhaps Derek Kawakami spent a little bit too much time in air conditioned highrises on Oʻahu, and has perhaps lost sight and touch with old slow Kauaʻi. And still he remains, as he has been for years, our likely next mayor.