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Schatz Statement on Nomination of Esther Kia‘aina to Interior Post

Washington, DC—Today, President Obama nominated Deputy Director of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Esther Kia‘aina for the position of Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the Department of the Interior.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs coordinates federal policy in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The office also administers U.S. federal assistance to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.

“Esther Kia‘aina is a tremendous choice by President Obama for this important post at the Department of the Interior,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “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 Hawai‘i will be better served with Esther Kia‘aina as Assistant Secretary of Insular Areas.”