HONOLULU (KHON2) – Kauai County voters have decided to have Derek Kawakami and Michael Roven Poai face off on Nov. 8 in Hawaii’s Kauai County mayor election.

Kawakami and Roven Poai were asked 10 questions — a mix of serious and less serious ones — that both reflect their stance on issues as well as their personalities.

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Below are Kawakami’s answers. Click here to see Roven Poai’s responses.

1. What are your top three priorities?

a. Continuing to address a myriad of infrastructure needs including road resurfacing and incorporating complete streets to improve safety and mobility; addressing solid waste and landfill issues; and maintenance and expanding our wastewater systems. Infrastructure is one of county governments core competencies and deserves our focus. It helps to stimulate the economy, create well-paying jobs, and improves the overall quality of life for our residents.
b. Ensuring that we have a safe community by supporting our public safety agencies. Our residents and visitors deserve to feel safe. 
c. Invest in our people and create an environment where they can grow and thrive. We continue to strive to improve customer service, address inefficiencies, and improve the quality of life for our residents in our role as public servants.

2. What policies are you looking to change?

It’s not so much about changing policies as it is about working hard and continuing to improve on the services that we deliver. In terms of specific policies, I am proud that Kauai continues to be at the forefront of creating progressive policies that address illegal Transient Vacation Rental (TVR) enforcement and climate adaptation, such as Bill No. 2879 which will be signed into law on Oct. 14. This bill ensures that new residential construction in the defined Constraint Sea Level Rise District is elevated two feet above the highest sea level rise flood elevation – which will protect new or improved structures from the significant impacts of climate change. It’s one of the first legislations in the nation to regulate construction based on sea level rise modeling projections as opposed to merely relying on historical data. I want to credit our team at the Department of Planning for taking an aggressive and proactive approach on these important issues, and our County Council for supporting their efforts. It truly takes a team effort to effect change. 

3. What feedback have you heard from the community that you plan on tackling?

Why try our best to address community concerns no matter how big or small.  Some of the larger issues include infrastructure improvements, affordable housing development, public safety, and environmental protection and resiliency. But everyday we receive concerns regarding potholes, park maintenance, vandalism or other illegal activity – and our team works just as hard to address those issues as they arise. 

4. Are you a dog or cat person?

I’ve had both cats and dogs in my life, so I don’t discriminate between the two. I currently belong to an English Springer Spaniel named Persephone and an English Cocker Spaniel named Kina. I’m definitely not a reptile person.

5. What do you plan on getting done within your first 100 days in office?

If re-elected the first 100 days would simply be continuing to build on the momentum that we have established during the first four years. Continuing to provide leadership and working hard for this community that I am honored to call home.

6. What advice would you give yourself at age 16?

Time flies so waste not your time.

7. How do you plan on combating the housing crisis in your county?

We want to do our part to keep the cost of housing affordable for our residents. We do that by helping to lower the costs of goods sold by utilizing appropriate county and state land. If the county can help to provide the land and infrastructure, the developer can focus on building affordable housing. Our Housing Director and Housing agency, our County Council as well as our state, federal and building industry partners, have done a tremendous job to show a proof in concept with projects such as Haupu View in Pua Loke, Kealaula at Pua Loke, and current work being done at Lima Ola in Eleele. We are looking at an additional 50 acres in Kilauea and of course Waimea 400 has tremendous potential to really move the needle with this housing model.

8. What sets you apart from your opponent?

I believe we have a lot more in common than we have differences. We both are employed by the County of Kauai, we both love Kauai, we both have ideas on how to improve the quality of life for our people and for future generations. I commend anyone willing to put themselves out there to become an elected official and serve our community. 

9. What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in achieving your goals as mayor, and how do you plan to address it?

Time. Time is the biggest obstacle for any administration. There is so much to do and so much that we want to get done with a limited amount of time that seems to go by faster than I could ever imagine. It’s still hard to believe we’re at the end of our first four-year term and if given the opportunity, we have many projects and initiatives to accomplish in the next four. 

10. Favorite local spot to eat at?

At home with my family.

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Voters will receive their ballots in the mail by Oct. 21.