Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed former congressional candidate Esther Kia’aina to be the deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The governor’s office said Monday Kia’aina will start work at her new position next week.
Kia’aina most recently competed in the race to be the Democratic Party’s nominee to represent Hawaii’s second congressional district. She lost the primary election to former Honolulu councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Kia’aina replaces Guy Kaulukukui, who resigned in August. The department is headed by Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila.
Kia’aina has served as chief advocate of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a land asset manager of the Kamehameha Schools’ land assets division.
She also worked for Sen. Daniel Akaka and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case.