Washington D.C. – Guam born Esther Kia’aina’s nomination to be the next Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs is headed to the full Senate for action next year, after a Senate panel gave her the ‘thumbs up’.
Senate Energy Committee Chair Ron Wyden, whose name is easier to pronounce than Esther Kia’aina’s, urged the panel to vote for her nomination and those of two other nominees.
HEAR Matt Kaye’s report HERE>>>12-18 kiaainadvances.mp3
Wyden said, “Esther Kia’aina, to be the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs. Colleagues, I believe all three of these nominees are highly qualified for the positions to which they’ve been nominated, based on their education, training and experience. I strongly support all three, and look forward to confirming them to the important positions for which they’ve been nominated.”
Ranking Committee Republican Lisa Murkowski said, “I, too, support these three nominees…I think we had a good opportunity to visit with them, not only in committee, but prior to that time…and I would encourage all members to support these nominees through the process.”
But a process that will now extend into next year, as the Senate prepares to adjourn for Christmas, and still faces political fallout from the Majority’s historic decision to end filibusters of most judicial and all all agency nominees.
For now, President Obama’s nominee to be the next OIA Assistant Secretary is moving ahead.
Chairman Wyden said, “All in favor, say ‘aye’…aye…all opposed, say ‘no’…the ‘ayes’ appear to have it, the ‘ayes’ appear to have it…they ‘ayes’ have it…and the nominations are ordered favorably reported.”
Kia’aina served as former Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka’s Legislative Director and that of former Guam Congressman Robert Underwood.
She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District in 2012, after incumbent Mazie Hirono announced her bid to replace retiring Akaka.
She would replace former Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Tony Babauta, if confirmed by the full Senate, next year.