Esther Puakela Kia’aina was nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior by President Barack Obama on Sept. 11.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Kia’aina would lead the Department’s efforts to coordinate federal policy for Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. She would also have the responsibility to administer and to oversee Federal assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
Kia’aina currently serves as the first deputy director of the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, working on watershed management protection initiatives, threatened and endangered species protection, invasive species control, land and ocean preservation, and strengthening public-private and enforcement partnerships.
Kia’aina received a law degree from the George Washington University Law School in 1998 and a bachelor’s in political science and international relations from the University of Southern California in 1985. (end)