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Hiram Fong

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Hiram Fong
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Hiram Fong

Hiram Leong Fong (鄺友良; pinyin: Kuŗng YǒuliŠng), formally Yau Leong Fong (October 15, 1906 - August 18, 2004), was an American elder statesman and business tycoon industrialist from Hawaii. He is most notable for his service as Republican United States Senator from 1959 to 1977, the first Asian American and Chinese American 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. To date, he is the only Republican to ever hold a Senate seat from Hawaii

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 his doctorate of jurisprudence 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. He was forced into retirement when the Hawaii Democratic Party 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.

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.

With the death of Senator Strom Thurmond on June 26, 2003, Fong became the oldest living person at that time to have served in the U.S. Senate until his death in August 2004.

Resources


Preceded by:
none
U.S. Senator from Hawaii
1959 - 1977
Succeeded by:
Spark Matsunaga

Template:End boxpl:Hiram Fong

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