Gabbard names retired Air Force colonel as Hawaii district director

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, whose district includes Maui County, has named retired Col. Walt Kaneakua as her Hawaii district director, who will work out of her Honolulu office.

Kaneakua is a former Air Force command pilot with 27 years with the Air Force and the Hawaii Air National Guard. He also flew for the now-defunct Aloha Airlines.

He later served as Sen. Daniel Inouye’s executive assistant for military affairs in his Honolulu office and as senior military affairs officer for U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono during her transition from the U.S. House.

“I am proud to announce Walt Kaneakua has joined my team as the Hawaii district director, bringing with him 32 years of public service and experience,” Gabbard said in a news release Friday. “His deep commitment to serving Hawaii and our country, as well as his thorough knowledge of military, economic and Hawaiian affairs, will serve our constituents well as we constantly work towards addressing Hawaii’s key priorities and needs.”

“I consider it high privilege to continue in service to the people of Hawaii, by joining Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s team,” said Kaneakua.

Gabbard’s office also announced that the congresswoman will be out of the office through Jan. 17 for her two weeks of mandatory Army National Guard training. A military police captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard, Gabbard will be training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.