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Abercrombie, Schatz support Kiaaina nomination to Department of Interior post


Gov. Neil Abercrombie applauded President Barack Obama’s announcement of his intent to nominate Esther Puakela Kiaaina of Hawaii to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“Esther brought a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm in serving as First Deputy of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources,” Abercrombie said. “While she will be sorely missed here as part of the DLNR ohana, Esther’s personal and professional background on Capitol Hill, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands will make her the strongest possible asset to the Interior Secretary.”

When confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Kiaaina will lead the Department of Interior’s efforts to coordinate federal policy for Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

She will also have the responsibility to administer and oversee federal assistance to the Federated State of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

Also, Sen. Brian Schatz released the following statement:

“Esther Kiaaina is a tremendous choice by President Obama for this important post at the Department of the Interior. Esther has had a distinguished career in public service, during which she has developed significant expertise in Native Hawaiian issues and land management. This is one of the few Senate confirmed positions for which a local Hawaiian leader has been nominated. I congratulate her on this worthy nomination, and look forward to a speedy confirmation process. The people and state of Hawaii will be better served with Esther Kiaaina as Assistant Secretary of Insular Areas.”

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