Esther Kia`āina is the Executive Director of the Pacific Basin Development Council, a regional organization that advances economic and social development in the Pacific Islands. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Honolulu City Council and Councilmember representing District III, the Windward side of Oahu.
Esther served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which included coordinating overall federal policy for the U.S. territories and financial assistance for the Freely Associated States of Micronesia.
Previously, Esther served as the First Deputy for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii’s largest private landowner. She had an extensive career on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., starting as a volunteer intern for Senator Daniel Inouye after college and later serving as Legislative Assistant for Senator Daniel Akaka, Chief of Staff/Legislative Director for Guam Congressman Robert Underwood, and Chief of Staff for Congressman Ed Case.