Despite one Senator’s attempt to stop William J. Aila Jr.’s confirmation by the full State Senate today for the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources position, he was approved by a vote of 23 to 0.
Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kahaluu, voted for the nominee with “strong reservations,” and spoke extensively about his concerns about Aila. but several other Senators spoke in strong support. The Senate gallery was filled with family and friends of the 52-year-old respected harbor agent for Waianae Boat Harbor.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D-HI, nominated Aila because he worked for Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation under the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for more than 23 years. He was the manager and operator for 31 acres of fast and submerged lands.
Abercrombie’s statement about Aila said: “Mr. Aila has served on national, state and community advisory groups for more than 20 years, which has given him the opportunity to interact and listen to concerns expressed by different stakeholders affected by DLNR regulations and policies As president of Mohala I Ka Wai, Mr. Aila worked with the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife, U.S. Army, community groups and private landowners to create the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, an organization dedicated to protecting Hawaii’s forest, streams and drinking water.”
Aila is a graduate of Waianae High School and he obtained from the University of Hawaii at Manoa his Bachelor’s degree in General Tropical Agriculture.