Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami announced on Tuesday that he will seek a second four-year term as mayor of Kauai County.

In his campaign announcement, Kawakami, 44, said he wants to continue the progress he said his administration has made since voters installed him in the county’s top office in January 2019. He defeated county investigator and former county councilman Mel Rapozo, clinching 65% of the vote compared to 31% for Rapozo in the 2018 general election.

Kawakami touted his aggressive Covid-19 response, as well as his administration’s implementation of a no-wait system at the DMV and new vehicle registration kiosks installed at four grocery stores across the island. He also highlighted the development Ke Alaula at Pua Loke, Kauai’s first transitional housing project where people without housing can seek temporary shelter, complete with wrap-around services to help them transition into permanent homes.

If reelected, Kawakami said he would focus on upgrading Kauai’s aging infrastructure, developing more affordable housing projects, building a new landfill, improving parks and playgrounds and repaving roads.


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