Esther’s Bio

Esther is the daughter of Lorelei Haunani Anahu (Kalamaula, Moloka`i) and Melvin Leialoha Kiaʻāina (Kalihi, O`ahu) and is the youngest of seven children. She was raised on the island of Guam and in Honolulu and Nānākuli, Oʻahu. She currently resides in the heart of Kailua, where she enjoys the town’s walkability and vibrancy. She is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, the University of Southern California, and the George Washington University Law School.

Esther has an unmatched depth of policy experience that will serve her well on the City Council, if elected. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Pacific Basin Development Council, where she advances economic and social development in the Pacific Islands. Prior to this, she worked for President Barack Obama, serving as Assistant Secretary of the Interior.  Esther’s background also includes serving as First Deputy at Hawaiʻi’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Chief Advocate at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Land Asset Manager at the Kamehameha Schools, Chief of Staff for Congressmen Ed Case and Robert Underwood, and Legislative Assistant for Senator Daniel Akaka.

Esther is deeply concerned about how Hawai`i collectively moves forward economically, socially, and culturally, taking into account the physical and mental well-being of all, including our underserved communities. She believes in the empowerment of people and is committed to working with communities and leaders at all levels of government toward reshaping our future.


  • Public Health and Safety
  • Cost of Living
  • Homelessness
  • Affordable Housing
  • Diversified Economy
  • Illegal Short-Term Rentals and Monster Homes
  • Sustainability and Food Security
  • Climate Resilience