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Senate confirms Kia'aina for Interior Department post

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:59 a.m. HST, Jun 26, 2014

The U.S. Senate confirmed Esther Kia'aina in a unanimous voice vote Thursday to serve as assistant secretary of insular affairs at the Department of the Interior.

"The Senate's overwhelming support for Esther's nomination speaks to her strong qualifications to serve as DOI Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs," U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said. "I have no doubt she will serve with distinction and make Hawaii proud."

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz also praised Kia'aina, and said, "President Obama recognized a tremendous individual for this important post."

Kia'aina was first deputy director for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources when she was nominated for the federal post.

A former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Ed Case, she later worked as a land asset manager for Kamehameha Schools and as chief advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

"Born in Guam to Native Hawaiian parents, Esther has strong connections to Pacific islands and extensive experience on Capitol Hill," Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. "She will be a valuable asset to this Department as we work with island leaders, the White House Interagency Group on Insular Areas, and partners across the federal government to further the islands' social and economic progress."

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CriticalReader wrote:
So, before being sworn at, she must be addressed as "Madame Assistant Secretary".
on June 26,2014 | 10:13AM
boolakanaka wrote:
Congrats-- E kamau iho i ka hoe!
on June 26,2014 | 10:19AM
false wrote:
Too lazy to look up what an "insular affairs" person does. But the SA could have saved us the trouble by describing her position.
on June 26,2014 | 10:37AM
nonpolitic wrote:
They also failed to include the fact that she also worked for many years for Senator Akaka and subsequently defected to Mr. Case's campaign to unseat him.
on June 26,2014 | 01:59PM
Denominator wrote:
Thank you. Now I like her!
on June 26,2014 | 03:15PM
nonpolitic wrote:
Well, if that's the case, then it may also interest you to know that the retired Senator Akaka and his wife actually opened up their home to Ms. Kia`aina and graciously allowed her to stay with them in DC while she worked on her graduate degree . . . only to be repaid by having her "jump ship" and back Mr. Case after she graduated.
on June 26,2014 | 04:33PM
pridon wrote:
Not a bad job for a failed candidate from the last elections. All you do is travel, make a few speeches and sign your name. Nod a bad gig.
on June 26,2014 | 11:00AM
cojef wrote:
Get on the Federal payroll, retirements include great health insurance benefits.
on June 26,2014 | 12:09PM
kainalu wrote:
Poor Esther. She's set up to be the pin cushion. Need a big Hawaiian arrested? Send another Hawaiian.
on June 26,2014 | 02:13PM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Maika`i kela. He Hawai`i akamai `o ia.
on June 27,2014 | 07:10AM
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