(BIVN) – During a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington, a Hawaii man’s work in connection with the Kona International Airport became a talking point in his nomination to be Commissioner Of United States Customs And Border Protection.
Kevin McAleenan, already the acting commissioner, had a high profile supporter for his nomination hearing: U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Mazie Hirono (D).
Hirono testified before the committee in favor of McAleenan, “one of Hawaii’s own”, whose middle name is Kealoha, “a good Hawaiian name”, Hirono said.
“Last December, CBP – in collaboration and coordination with the Hawaii Department of Transportation – resumed inspection of international travelers arriving at Kona Airport after a six year hiatus,” Hirono told her fellow senators. “The success of this project between the State of Hawaii and CBP was fostered by Kevin and the strong team at CBP.”
“While I don’t expect to support everything that CBP will be tasked by the President to do, Kevin’s long career in law enforcement and willingness to constructively work with members of the Senate will equip him to lead the agency with integrity and commitment to service,” Hirono said.
Sen. Hirono noted that Governor David Ige submitted a letter in support of the nomination, highlighting McAleenan’s “keen desire to serve the public with the spirit of aloha,” and praising the work McAleenan did to assist in resuming international flights from Japan direct to Kona.
If confirmed, McAleenan will be the first commissioner to oversee CBP as a fully authorized agency, according to Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“CBP is the United States’ unified border agency, charged with facilitating legitimate trade and travel, while enforcing U.S. trade laws and securing our borders,” Hatch said in his opening statement. “There is a great deal of work to be done to improve enforcement, but this mission should not come at the expense of legitimate trade and travel. Striking the right balance is vital to ensuring that the United States remains competitive with the rest of the world.”