We are living in a time of unprecedented challenge, making it more important than ever that elected leaders at every level of government can collaborate. I have worked with Esther Kia’āina on issues related to economic development, conservation, federal funds, and Native Hawaiian rights, and I can attest to her integrity, work ethic, and dedication to understanding and representing her community. I know she will be a very effective representative for Windward O’ahu at the City Council, and that is why I am endorsing her in the Honolulu District 3 race.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

October 12, 2020

District 3 (Waimanalo to Kaneohe): Esther Kiaaina, executive director of the Pacific Basin Development Council and a former assistant secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama, is facing off against Greg Thielen, a home builder and small-business owner.

Ikaika Anderson, who held this seat for nearly two full terms, was serving as Council chairman when he resigned this month.

While neither candidate has held elected office, Kiaaina has held positions in Congress and state government. Among the district needs Kiaaina ranks as most pressing: reducing the cost of living and increasing access to affordable housing.

To help address the city’s long-standing affordable housing shortage, Kiaaina favors policies to improve the use of city properties to add affordable units; and upgrade aging infrastructure (water, wastewater, municipal roads). Thielen, too, ranks housing issues as top priorities, and sees incentives that spur more construction of accessory dwell units (ADUs) as a needed cost-efficient solution.

While Thielen’s home-building business insights and community roots in Windward Oahu might be assets, Kiaaina has potential to help Honolulu navigate its next few cash-strapped years, given her years of experience in government — including first-hand knowledge of how the city could benefit from federal support and funding for pandemic-related relief and other projects, such as the $9.2 billion rail. She should get the chance to serve.


Experience and Leadership Matters. Vote Esther Kia`aina for City Council.

Our family has lived in the Windward community for generations, and we believe in Esther’s commitment to our community. We are fortunate that she will bring her federal and state experience to the City Council to help Windward community local families recover from the pandemic to a more sustainable future.

Edna Kealohapauole Hoʻokano Shiroma
Dawn Naomi Shiroma Chang
Kāneʻohe, Attorney

Esther is a very strong person that helps us with our agricultural farming and helping our homeless community at the same time. You can’t find anyone who is as dedicated to her people and community. I respect her and I believe in her.

Blanche McMillan
Waimānalo, Community Leader

I have known Esther through much of her long history of public service for Hawai’i. In every role she has held, Esther has advocated for her constituents with passion and integrity. I know she will be an excellent representative for Council District 3, and thatʻs why she has my vote.

Ann Botticelli
Lanikai, Community Advocate and
Retired Communications Executive

Esther will make an excellent City Councilmember. Her resolve, keen understanding of community, and leadership will serve her well. I wholeheartedly support her!

Ann Kobayashi
City Councilmember

As we deal with the pandemic, it is important that we elect leaders who can hit the ground running. Esther can do just that and has extensive government experience that will help her navigate the City Council and work closely with our state and federal leaders. I also greatly appreciate her commitment to underserved communities, including Pacific Islanders.

Jeanne Schultz Afuvai
Kailua, Retired Public Servant

Esther is a principled and hard-working public servant. She knows how to get things done and the people of Honolulu need her vast experience and her ability to understand and address their needs.

Colin Kippen
Maunawili, Policy and Community Advocate

Esther and I share the same passion, manaʻo and mission regarding agriculture and responses to climate change. Supporting her will facilitate economic recovery while respecting the ʻāina.

Sam Kakazu, Jr.
Kāneʻohe, Retired HI DOE School Counselor, Former USDA Sup/Field Agent, Pollinator Advocate

I’m voting for Esther because she really knows policy-making, which means she can make government work for the community and not be overrun by the special seekers.

Tom Coffman
Kāneʻohe, Author, Catch A Wave, Nation Within & Tadaima!
We support Esther Kiaʻāina for her commitment to Hawaiʻi’s working families, the environment, and our economic recovery.




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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.

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