Hawai‘i’s Senior Statesman Opines on the State of the State

Richard Borreca
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

George R. Ariyoshi, who will turn 92 next month, has served as one of the state’s Democratic leaders for so long that he is one of the signposts for politics and government in Hawai‘i.

Unless the state Constitution is amended to change the current two-term limit for Hawai‘i’s governor, Ariyoshi is likely to be the longest-serving governor in state history, having served three terms, from 1974 to 1986. In October 1973, prior to his election, then-Lt. Gov. Ariyoshi was appointed acting governor when Gov. John A. Burns resigned due to his worsening and terminal cancer condition.

A Nisei, Ariyoshi was part of the returning wave of Hawai‘i AJA veterans who served in World War II — Ariyoshi served in the Military Intelligence Service — and then ran for political office, becoming one of the Democrats who took control of the territorial Legislature in 1954.

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