November 12, 2013


Washington, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono met today with Esther Kiaaina, the Obama Administration’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). Hirono will introduce Kiaaina’ s nomination during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing this Thursday.

"It was great to see Esther today and I am happy to see someone from Hawaii nominated for this role given our state's unique position," said Hirono. “She is someone I've known a long while and consider a friend. Her background and experience will be a great asset to the Department of the Interior. In this position, she’ll cultivate a spirit of aloha and build strong relationships, using her in-depth understanding of work in disparate rural and urban communities in an island state."

Kiaaina currently serves 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 has held positions as the Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schools Land Asset Division. Kiaaina has also served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Ed Case as well as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Robert Underwood. She was also a Legislative Assistant for Senator Daniel Akaka. Kiaaina received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.