Gov. Neil Abercrombie has selected Kauai Council Member Derek Kawakami to replace Rep. Hermina Morita in the 51- member House of Representatives.

Morita resigned earlier this year from the House to accept an appointment from the Abercrombie administration on the Public Utilities Commission.

On the Kauai County Council, Kawakami is the Committee Chair for Intergovernmental Relations and the Vice-Chair of the Committee of the Whole. He also serves as a Member of the Economic Development & Renewable Energy Strategies Committee, the Finance / Parks & Recreation / Public Works Programs Committee, the Planning Committee, and the Public Safety & Environmental Services Committee. He has served on the council since 2008.

Besides his part-time position with the council, he operates Derek’s Cool Runnings Shave Ice and Vending.

In the community, he is active with business and community organizations. He is a member of the Kaua`i Economic Development Board and Lihue Business Association.

Educated on Kauai, his education includes a BA from Chaminade University of Hawaii.

Abercrombie said: “Derek has shown he is committed to public service and I believe he will do a great job of serving the people of Kauai in the House of Representatives.”Kawakami will leave his seat on the Kaua’i County Council where he is the Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.  He has served on the County

Once Mr. Kawakami’s resignation from the County Council is complete, he will be scheduled for his swearing in ceremony to represent District 14 in the State House of Representatives, Abercrombie’s office reports.

House Speaker Calvin Say said: “I am pleased to welcome Derek Kawakami to the House of Representatives,” said Speaker of the House Calvin K.Y. Say.  “Mr. Kawakami joins the legislature during a critical session, with our main focus on balancing the budget and revitalizing the economy.  He has already proven his dedication to the public good through his service on the Kauai County Council.”

Say said Kawakami’s committee assignments will be set later this week.  He can be reached at the State Capitol in Room 314, 808-586-8435, repkawakami@capitol.hawaii.gov.

More about Kawakami can be found on his web site, http://derekkawakami.com/

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