Kauai representative will not run again
Bertha Kawakami will travel and spend more time with family
Bertha Kawakami, veteran Kauai Democratic representative and widow of former House Speaker Richard Kawakami, will not run for re-election.
In a written statement, Kawakami said she wanted to travel and spend more time with her family.
"I think the time is right for me to retire," Kawakami, 74, said. "I would like to spend more time with my family. I have grandchildren on the mainland who are always asking me to come visit them. And I love to travel. I would like to be able to travel and pursue some of my personal interests while I'm healthy and have the opportunity."
Another state representative on Kauai, Democrat Rep. Ezra Kanoho, 78, announced earlier this year he also would not run for re-election.
Kawakami served 19 years in the Legislature, representing the areas of Waimea, Koloa, Poipu and the islands of Niihau and Lehua.
In 1987 she was named to fill the seat of her late husband, Richard Kawakami. For 14 years she served as vice chairwoman of the House Finance Committee.
She is a director of H.S. Kawakami Stores, which operates the Big Save supermarket chain.
"Rep. Kawakami personifies the best in what a state legislator can be," said House Speaker Calvin Say. "She always fights hard for her district, but at the same time she is always gracious and a true professional."
Kawakami is a Kamehameha School graduate who earned her undergraduate degree in education from the University of Hawaii and a master's in education from New York University. She is a former teacher, principal, district language arts specialist, education officer and Kauai deputy district superintendent.