Hiram Fong

Hiram Fong

Infobox Senator |name=Hiram Fong

jr/sr=United States Senator
term_start=August 21, 1959
term_end=January 3 1977
succeeded=Spark Matsunaga
date of birth=birth date|1906|10|15
place of birth=Honolulu, Hawaii
date of death=death date and age|2004|08|18|1906|10|15
place of death=Kahaluu, Hawaii
spouse=Ellyn Lo
alma_mater=University of Hawaii at Manoa
Harvard School of Law

Hiram Leong Fong (; pinyin: Kuàng Yǒuliáng), formally Yau Leong Fong (October 15, 1906August 18, 2004), was an American businessman and politician from Hawaii. He is most notable for his service as Republican United States Senator from 1959 to 1977, and for being the first Asian American and Chinese American and part Native Hawaiian to be elected as such. In 1964, Fong became the first Asian American to run for his party's nomination for President of the United States. As of 2008, he is the only Republican to ever hold a Senate seat from Hawaii and the only Asian American to actively seek the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party. He would be followed by Patsy Mink, also from Hawaii, who sought the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1972.

Early years

Fong was born in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi on the island of Oahu. He attended local public schools and graduated from President William McKinley High School in 1924. In 1930, Fong obtained a degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and in 1935 obtained a law degree from Harvard University. He returned to Honolulu and worked in the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of Honolulu. In 1938, Fong went into private legal practice and founded the firm of Fong, Miho, Choy and Robinson.

Political years

The same year he founded his law office, Fong entered elected political life as a member of the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives where he became Speaker of the House from 1948 to 1954. During this time, he was one of the front most leaders in the fight to make Hawaii a state. He was forced into retirement when the Democratic Party of Hawaii successfully ended a Hawaii Republican Party stronghold over the territorial legislature by voting most Republican incumbents out of office.

Upon achieving statehood through the Admission Act of 1959, Hawaii returned Fong to elected office becoming one of its first United States Senators. He served alongside former Governor of Hawaii Oren E. Long, a career Democrat and popular territorial leader.

A moderate, Fong supported civil rights legislation in the Senate. However, he was more hawkish in foreign affairs.

He twice ran favorite son campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1964 and 1968. In 1964, he became the first Asian American to receive votes for president at a major party convention, receiving the votes of the Hawaii and Alaska delegations. Fong was the first Hawaii-born individual to run for President of the United States, being followed by Democrat Patsy Mink in 1972, and Barack Obama of Honolulu, in 2008.

After his retirement, Fong and his wife managed a 725 acre (2.9 km²) garden that was opened to the public in 1988. It was noted that he worked in the garden until a week before his death.

Fong was a Congregationalist in religion.


* [http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/19/ln/ln07a.html Honolulu Advertiser Special Feature, August 19, 2004]

External links

* [http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=F000245 Biographical Directory of the US Congress]

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