A government veteran with experience on Capitol Hill is considering a run for the Honolulu City Council.

Esther Kiaaina, executive director of the nonprofit Pacific Basin Development Council, says she is seriously considering the District 3 seat (Ahuimanu, Heeia, Haiku, Kaneohe, Maunawili, Kailua, Olomana, Enchanted Lake, and Waimanalo) being vacated by the term-limited Ikaika Anderson.

“Kailua/Waimanalo are facing a leadership transition in the upcoming election cycle,” she said via email, referring to two open state House seats, one open state Senate seat, one open City Council seat and an open congressional seat.

Esther Kiaaina.

Esther Kiaaina

Kiaaina, who moved to Kailua last year, said she was approached by local political and community leaders to consider the race “given the importance of issues impacting quality of life issues for the region.”

Kiaaina served as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior under the Obama Administration between 2014-2017. The position involved coordinating overall federal policy for the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Previously she worked at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools. And she worked in the offices of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case.

Kiaaina unsuccessfully sought election to the OHA Board of Trustees and the U.S. House.

Two other candidates have pulled papers or filed to run for the District 3 seat.

Before you go . . .

Our evolution as a public service news organization over the past 10 years has prepared us for this moment in time, when what we do matters the most.

Whether you’ve valued our in-depth, fact-based journalism for 10 years or 10 days, now is the time we need you the most. Please consider supporting our newsroom by making a tax deductible gift.

About the Author