WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hawaii’s Esther Kiaaina was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) today in the U.S. Senate.
Kiaaina was confirmed unanimously by voice vote.
U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, who had previously introduced Kiaaina’s nomination during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing last November, supported Kiaana today.
“The Senate’s overwhelming support for Esther’s nomination speaks to her strong qualifications to serve as DOI Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs,” Hirono said. “I have no doubt she will serve with distinction and make Hawaii proud.”
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said: “President Obama recognized a tremendous individual for this important post in Esther Kia‘aina. Her confirmation is a testament to her distinguished career and expertise on Native Hawaiian issues and land management. Esther is an exceptional addition to the Department of the Interior and will serve well as Assistant Secretary.”
Prior to her nomination, Esther Kiaaina served as the First Deputy Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawaii, a position she has held since 2012.
Previously, she served as Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 2009 to 2011 and from 2007 to 2009, she was a Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schools Land Asset Division. Kiaaina served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Ed Case from 2003 to 2007. From 1999 to 2003, she was Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Robert Underwood. Kiaaina served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Daniel Akaka from 1990 to 1999. Kiaaina received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.