Esther Kia’aina, a longtime Congressional aide and current chief advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, declared her candidacy for the open 2nd Congressional district seat last week. The seat opened after Rep. Mazie Hirono announced a bid for the open Senate seat. In an interview, Kia’aina told Roll Call that the state agency she helps oversee is tasked with “improving the conditions of native Hawaiians.”
She said she wanted to return to Washington, where she had served as an aide to Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye and former Rep. Ed Case, because she believes that she has the experience to bring about change at this “critical time for the people of Hawaii.”
Kia’aina said she would need to raise $1 million to $1.5 million for the campaign. “I’m availing myself of all of the networks that I have built up over the years,” she said.
The 2nd district includes all of Hawaii outside metro Honolulu.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.