Hiram Fong

Hiram Leong Fong (Chinese: ; pinyin: Kuàng Yǒuliáng; Cantonese Yale: Kwong3 Yau5 Leung4), born Yau Leong Fong[1] (October 15, 1906 – August 18, 2004), was an American businessman, lawyer, and politician from Hawaii. The son of illiterate Cantonese immigrants, he overcame poverty to become the first Asian-American United States Senator, serving from 1959 to 1977.[2] 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 and was the only Asian-American to seek the presidential nomination of the Republican Party until Bobby Jindal in the 2016 primaries.

Hiram Fong
Hiram Fong
United States Senator
from Hawaii
In office
August 21, 1959 – January 3, 1977
Preceded bySeat established
Succeeded bySpark Matsunaga
Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byManuel Paschoal
Succeeded byCharles E. Kauhane
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 5th district
In office
Personal details
Yau Leong Fong

October 15, 1906
Honolulu, Hawaii Territory, U.S.
DiedAugust 18, 2004 (aged 97)
Kahaluu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ellyn Lo
EducationUniversity of Hawaii, Manoa (BA)
Harvard Law School (LLB)
OccupationBusinessman, lawyer, politician
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1942–1945
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major
UnitUS Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
 • Seventh Air Force
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early years

Fong was born in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi on the island of Oahu as the seventh of 11 children of father Lum Fong and mother Ellyn Lo.[3] He was the son of Cantonese immigrants. He attended local public schools and graduated from McKinley High School in 1924.[1]

In 1930, Fong obtained a degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and in 1935 obtained a law degree from Harvard Law School. 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. In 1942, he changed his name to "Hiram".[1] During World War II he served as a major in the United States Army Air Forces as a Judge Advocate, later retiring as a colonel from the United States Air Force Reserve.[1][4]

In 1952, along with five other island families, Hiram Fong started Finance Factors, one of the first industrial and consumer loan companies, to service the growing minorities who were seeking to start new businesses and buy homes.[5]

Political career

President Richard Nixon greets Senator Hiram Fong
President Richard Nixon greeting Senator Fong in 1972

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.[6] During this time, he was one of the foremost 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 Hawaii Territorial Legislature by voting most Republican incumbents out of office. Fong founded several businesses after leaving the legislature.[1]

Upon achieving statehood through the Admission Act of 1959, Hawaii returned Fong to elected office; he became one of its first United States Senators.[7] He served alongside former Governor of Hawaii Oren E. Long, a Democrat and popular territorial leader.

Fong fought for civil rights legislation in the Senate and supported both the Vietnam War and President Nixon during the Watergate scandal.[7]

Senator Fong was booed by a hearing audience for defending George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Development, in the wake of a real estate industry scandal.[8]

He twice ran favorite son campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1964 and 1968.[9] 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.[10]

In 1965, during debate on Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 Fong answered questions concerning the possible change in US cultural pattern by an influx of Asians:

"Asians represent six-tenths of 1 percent of the population of the United States ... with respect to Japan, we estimate that there will be a total for the first 5 years of some 5,391 ... the people from that part of the world will never reach 1 percent of the population .. .Our cultural pattern will never be changed as far as America is concerned." (U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 1965, pp.71, 119.)[11]


The papers of Hiram L. Fong were donated to the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library in August 1998 when over 1000 boxes, crates and trunks of documents, photographs, videos, and memorabilia at the senator's home were delivered to the University of Hawaii for inventorying, fumigation and preliminary processing. Along with the papers, Sen. Fong also provided generous financial support towards their preservation and processing.[6]

The bulk of the papers cover the years that Sen. Fong served in Congress, from August 1959 to January 1977. Included in the collection are series of Washington office files, Hawaii office files, Post Office and Civil Service Committee (POCS) materials, campaign memorabilia, photographs, and political souvenirs. Also in the papers are a few professional and personal materials from his pre-Congressional life such as Harvard Law School notes.[6]

Approximately 80 boxes of books accompanied Sen. Fong's papers, several dedicated to him for his important work on Senate committees such as the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. A few of the books were kept with the congressional collection but the majority were added to the book collections of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library. A gift book plate was designed for these incorporating the senator's noted signature.[6]

The papers were processed in 2003 by archivist Dorothy "Dee" Hazelrigg, and are available to researchers in the Archives & Manuscripts Department by appointment. A Finding Aid, which provides detailed listings of the materials, is available at the Hiram L. Fong Papers web site.[6]

Personal life

Fong married Ellyn Lo in 1938; they had four children. After retiring from the Senate, Fong faced financial and legal difficulties, including several lawsuits with a son over the family's businesses that forced him and his wife to declare bankruptcy in 2003.[1] They managed a botanical garden of 725 acres (293 ha) that was opened to the public in 1988.[3]

Fong was a Congregationalist, and was buried in Nuuanu Memorial Park and Mortuary.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Nakaso, Dan (August 18, 2004). "Hiram Fong dead at 97". Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on September 10, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Adam (August 19, 2004). "Hiram Fong Dies; One of First Hawaiian Senators". The Washington Post. p. B6. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Biographical sketch senatorfong.com
  4. ^ Fong Garden biography Archived May 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ http://www.senatorfong.com/finance_factors.html
  6. ^ a b c d e "Hiram L. Fong Papers".
  7. ^ a b Arakawa, Linda (August 19, 2004). "First Asian in U.S. Senate broke barriers". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on September 19, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Asbury, Edith (May 2, 1972). "Senators Told of 'Blockbusting' In a Financial Conspiracy Here" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Senator Hiram Fong Exhibit Archived September 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Hawaii Congressional Papers Collection, University of Hawaii.
  10. ^ "Senator Fong's website".
  11. ^ https://cis.org/Report/Legacy-1965-Immigration-Act
  12. ^ United States Congress. "Hiram Fong (id: F000245)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

External links

Party political offices
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Hawaii
(Class 1)

1959, 1964, 1970
Succeeded by
William Quinn
U.S. Senate
New seat U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Hawaii
Served alongside: Oren Long, Daniel Inouye
Succeeded by
Spark Matsunaga
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Strom Thurmond
Oldest Living United States Senator
(Sitting or Former)

Succeeded by
Clifford Hansen
1964 Republican National Convention

The 1964 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States took place in the Cow Palace, Daly City, California, on July 13 to July 16, 1964. Before 1964, there had been only one national Republican convention on the West Coast, the 1956 Republican National Convention, which also took place in the Cow Palace. Many believed that a convention at San Francisco indicated the rising power of the Republican party in the west.

1964 Republican Party presidential primaries

The 1964 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1964 U.S. presidential election. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1964 Republican National Convention held from July 13 to July 16, 1964, in San Francisco, California.

1968 Republican National Convention

The 1968 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida, from August 5 to August 8, 1968, to select the party's nominee in the general election. It nominated former Vice President Richard M. Nixon for President and Maryland Governor Spiro T. Agnew for Vice President. It was the fourth time Nixon had been nominated on the Republican ticket as either its vice-presidential (1952 and 1956) or presidential candidate (1960).

1968 Republican Party presidential primaries

The 1968 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1968 U.S. presidential election. Former Vice President Richard Nixon was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1968 Republican National Convention held from August 5 to August 8, 1968, in Miami Beach, Florida.

1976 United States Senate election in Hawaii

The 1976 United States Senate election in Hawaii took place on November 2, 1976. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Hiram Fong decided to retire instead of seeking re-election to a fourth term. Democrat Spark Matsunaga won the open seat.

1976 United States Senate elections

The 1976 United States Senate elections was an election for the United States Senate that coincided with Democratic Jimmy Carter's presidential election and the United States Bicentennial celebration. Although almost half of the seats decided in this election changed parties, Carter's narrow victory did not provide coattails for the Democrats, and the balance of the chamber remained the same.

This was the first election in which the Libertarian Party competed, running candidates in 9 of the 33 contested seats. There were no special elections in this election cycle.

As of 2018 this is the first and so far only time both party leaders retired from the senate in an election cycle since the creation of the positions.

David Kuraoka

David Kuraoka (born 1946) is an American ceramic artist. He was born in Lihue, Hawaii, grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii in Hanamaulu and Lihue, and graduated from Kauai High School in 1964. Kuraoka spent his formative years in Hanamaulu where he lived with his parents in his paternal grandmother's home in a plantation labor camp. His father, one of seven children and the only son, became a journalist, writing a weekly column published on Wednesdays, and the Kauai campaign manager for local politician Hiram Fong and Richard Nixon. His mother, Emiko Kuraoka, was a school teacher. He is married to Carol Kuraoka. Kuraoka moved to California in 1964 to study architecture at San Jose City College, eventually transferring to San José State University (San Jose, California) where he received his BA in 1970 and MA 1971. After completing graduate work that focused on ceramics, Kuraoka joined the faculty at San Francisco State University, eventually rising to head its ceramics department.At the age of 35 he was named a Living Treasures of Hawai'i.

Now retired as professor of art and head of the ceramics department of San Francisco State University, Kuraoka maintains studios in both San Francisco and Kauai, Hawaii.David Kuraoka said in an artist's statement, "My work is abstract, and my style is simple, clean and crisp." He is best known for large ceramic pieces that are first thrown on a wheel, then further shaped by hand, burnished, covered with rock salt and copper carbonate, and fired in an open pit. He also makes more traditionally shaped ceramics with grayish-green celadon glaze and has begun having some of his organically shaped ceramic pieces cast in bronze, which are patinated to resemble his ceramics. Hanakapi'ai 3, in the collection of the Hawaii State Art Museum, is an example of his bronze sculptures. Kuraoka has also created wall murals.

Electoral history of Barry Goldwater

Electoral history of Barry Goldwater, United States Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and Republican Party nominee for President of the United States during 1964 election

Phoenix City Council, At-large district, 1949:Elected:

Barry Goldwater – 16,405 (17.3%)

Harry Rosenzweig – 14,887 (15.7%)

Margaret B. Kober – 14,498 (15.3%)

Frank G. Murphy – 13,598 (14.4%)

Charles N. Walters – 12,838 (13.6%)

Hohen Foster – 12,556 (13.3%)Defeated:

Rocky Ford – 4,678 (4.9%)

Tony Grosso – 3,000 (3.2%)

James H. Kerby – 2,177 (2.3%)Phoenix City Council, At-large district, 1951:Elected:

Hohen Foster (inc.)

Barry Goldwater (inc.)

Margaret B. Kober (inc.)

Frank G. Murphy (inc.)

Harry Rosenzweig (inc.)

Charles N. Walters (inc.)Defeated:

A.J. Beaty

Guz Rodriguez

Charles Romaine

Calvin R. Sanders

John W. Strode

James A. Tilley, Sr.Republican primary for the United States Senator (class 1) from Arizona, 1952:

Barry Goldwater – 33,460 (91.0%)

Lester K. Kahl – 3,297 (9.0%)United States Senate election in Arizona, 1952:

Barry Goldwater (R) – 132,063 (51.3%)

Ernest McFarland (D) (inc.) – 125,338 (48.7%)United States Senate election in Arizona, 1958:

Barry Goldwater (R) (inc.) – 164,593 (56.1%)

Ernest McFarland (D) – 129,030 (43.9%)1960 Republican presidential primaries:

Richard Nixon – 4,975,938 (86.6%)

Unpledged – 314,234 (5.5%)

George H. Bender – 211,090 (3.7%)

Cecil H. Underwood – 123,756 (2.2%)

James M. Lloyd – 48,461 (0.8%)

Nelson Rockefeller – 30,639 (0.5%)

Frank R. Beckwith – 19,677 (0.3%)

John F. Kennedy – 12,817 (0.2%)

Barry Goldwater – 3,146 (0.1%)

Paul C. Fisher – 3,146 (0.1%)

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. – 514 (0.0%)

Dwight D. Eisenhower (inc.) – 172 (0.0%)

Styles Bridges – 108 (0.0%)1960 Republican National Convention (presidential tally):

Richard Nixon – 1,321 (99.3%)

Barry Goldwater – 10 (0.7%)1960 United States presidential election:

John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson (D) – 34,220,984 (49.7%) and 303 electoral votes (22 states carried)

Richard Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R) – 34,108,157 (49.6%) and 219 electoral votes (27 states carried)

Harry F. Byrd/Strom Thurmond (I) – 286,359 (0.4%) and 14 electoral votes (2 states carried)

Harry F. Byrd/Barry Goldwater (I) – 1 electoral vote (Oklahoma faithless elector)

Orval Faubus/John G. Crommelin (National States' Rights) – 44,984 (0.1%)

Charles L. Sullivan/Merritt Curtis (CST) – 18,162 (0.0%)

1964 Republican presidential primaries:

Barry Goldwater – 2,267,079 (38.3%)

Nelson Rockefeller – 1,304,204 (22.1%)

James A. Rhodes – 615,754 (10.4%)

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. – 386,661 (6.5%)

John W. Byrnes – 299,612 (5.1%)

William Scranton – 245,401 (4.2%)

Margaret Chase Smith – 227,007 (3.8%)

Richard Nixon – 197,212 (3.3%)

Unpledged – 173,652 (2.9%)

Harold Stassen – 114,083 (1.9%)

1964 Republican National Convention (presidential tally):

Barry Goldwater – 883 (67.5%)

William Scranton – 214 (16.4%)

Nelson Rockefeller – 114 (8.7%)

George W. Romney – 41 (3.1%)

Margaret Chase Smith – 27 (2.1%)

Walter Judd – 22 (1.7%)

Hiram Fong – 5 (0.4%)

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. – 2 (0.2%)

1964 United States presidential election:

Lyndon B. Johnson/Hubert Humphrey (D) – 43,127,041 (61.1%) and 486 electoral votes (44 states and D.C. carried)

Barry Goldwater/William E. Miller (R) – 27,175,754 (38.5%) and 52 electoral votes (6 states carried)

Unpledged electors (D) – 210,732 (0.3%)United States Senate election in Arizona, 1968:

Barry Goldwater (R) – 274,607 (57.2%)

Roy Elson (D) – 205,338 (42.8%)United States Senate election in Arizona, 1974:

Barry Goldwater (R) (inc.) – 320,396 (58.3%)

Jonathan Marshall (D) – 229,523 (41.7%)United States Senate election in Arizona, 1980:

Barry Goldwater (R) (inc.) – 432,371 (49.5%)

Bill Schultz (D) – 422,972 (48.4%)

Fred R. Esser (Libertarian) – 12,008 (1.4%)

Lorenzo Torrez (People over Politics) – 3,608 (0.4%)

Josefina Otero (Socialist Workers) – 3,266 (0.4%)

Electoral history of Nelson Rockefeller

Electoral history of Nelson Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States (1974–1977), 49th Governor of New York (1959–1973) and three-time candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination (1960; 1964; 1968).


Fong may refer to:

the Bulu tribe of the Beti–Pahuin people of Cameroon

various Chinese surnames

the Hong Kong Government Cantonese romanization of the surname Fāng (Chinese: 方)

the Taishanese pronunciation of the Chinese surname Kuàng (simplified Chinese: 邝; traditional Chinese: 鄺)

a Malaysian–Singaporean form of Féng (simplified Chinese: 冯; traditional Chinese: 馮

a Taiwanese form of Fèng (simplified Chinese: 凤; traditional Chinese: 鳳)

Herbert Choy

Herbert Young Cho Choy (January 6, 1916 – March 10, 2004) was the first Asian American to serve as a United States federal judge and the first person of Korean ancestry to be admitted to the bar in the United States. He served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Kahaluu, Hawaii

Kahaluʻu (; Hawaiian pronunciation: [ˈkɐhɐˈluʔu]) is a residential community and census-designated place (CDP) in the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, in the District of Koolaupoko on the island of Oahu. In Hawaiian ka haluʻu means "diving place". As of the 2010 Census, the CDP had a total population of 4,738.

List of United States senators from Hawaii

Hawaii was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959 and elects U.S. senators to Classes 1 and 3. Seven people including only one Republican have served as a U.S. senator from Hawaii. The state's current U.S. senators are Democrats Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono. Hawaii's Class 1 seat is the only in the United States that has always been held by an ethnic minority.

Oren E. Long

Oren Ethelbirt Long (March 4, 1889 – May 6, 1965) was an American politician who served as the tenth Territorial Governor of Hawaii from 1951 to 1953. A member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Long was appointed to the office after the term of Ingram Stainback. After statehood was achieved he served in the United States Senate, one of the first two, along with Hiram Fong, to represent Hawaii in that body. Long was the only non-Asian American U.S. Senator from Hawaii until the appointment of Brian Schatz to the position in 2012.

Politics of Hawaii

This only covers the history of the politics of the State of Hawaii. For information on the political history of the previous two forms of government, see Territory of Hawaii - Organic Act and Kingdom of Hawaii - Government.

The politics the U.S. state of Hawaii take place within the framework of a Democrat-dominated government.

Robert M. M. Seto

Robert Mahealani Ming Seto (born Robert Ming Seto in 1936) is a law professor, and a former judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims from 1982 to 1987.

Born in Canton, China, Seto received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Saint Louis University in 1962, and a Juris Doctor from the Saint Louis University School of Law in 1968. He later received an LL.M. in Government Contract Law from the George Washington University Law School.Seto was an assistant circuit attorney for the Felony Division of St. Louis, Missouri from 1968 to 1969, then became patent counsel to Monsanto Chemical Co. from 1969 to 1970, and deputy corporation counsel in the Division of Legal Memorandums and Opinions for the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, from 1970 to 1971. Seto then held several staff positions in the United States Senate, serving as Republican Minority Counsel to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging from 1971 to 1973, then as legislative counsel to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974, and then chief patent counsel to U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong of Hawaii, for the Subcommittee on Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, from 1975 to 1976.Seto was a senior patent litigation attorney for the United States International Trade Commission from 1976 to 1981. He became a trial judge of the United States Court of Claims in 1981, and on October 1, 1982 he was elevated by operation of law to a new seat on the United States Court of Federal Claims authorized by 96 Stat. 27. He resigned on June 20, 1987, to become an administrative judge for the Board of Contract Appeals of the United States Department of Agriculture, a position he held until 1998. Since 1998, Seto has been a professor at Regent University School of Law.In 2005, Seto "suffered a debilitating stroke that impaired him both physically and emotionally". In a disciplinary action in 2011, Seto agreed to be voluntarily suspended from practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office for four years for misconduct in connection with the practice of his son, Jeffrey. The settlement stipulated that Seto had "assisted his son in the unauthorized practice of patent and trademark law while his son was employed as a patent examiner at the Office", a position that precluded the son from practicing before the office. Seto was reciprocally suspended from practice by the Supreme Court of Hawaii on January 5, 2012, and by the Supreme Court of the United States on April 30, 2012.

Spark Matsunaga

Spark Masayuki Matsunaga (October 8, 1916 – April 15, 1990) was an American politician who served as United States Senator for Hawaii from 1977 until his death in 1990. A member of the Democratic Party, Matsunaga introduced legislation in the Senate that led to the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and the United States Institute of Peace.

Thomas Sakakihara

Thomas Tameichi Sakakihara (榊原為一, Sakakihara Tameichi, 1900–1989), referred to locally as Tommy Sakakihara in person and in print, was a Japanese American politician from Hawaii, interned due to his ancestry during World War II.

William B. Spong Jr.

William Belser Spong Jr. (September 29, 1920 – October 8, 1997) was a Democratic Party politician and a United States Senator who represented the state of Virginia from 1966 to 1973.

Class 1
Class 3
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Republican Party
Democratic Party
American Independent Party


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