As Hawai‘i’s longest-serving governor, George R. Ariyoshi was a prime architect of Hawaiian statehood, widely recognized for his leadership in long-range planning and the protection and management of the Islands’ natural resources. Now, after sixty years of statehood, Gov. Ariyoshi looks back on whether the performance has matched the plans—and offers a sweeping vision for managing growth and shaping Hawai‘i’s future for the generations to come.
George Ryoichi Ariyoshi was first elected to public office at age twenty-eight in the transformative Democratic Revolution of 1954. Over time, he won twenty-two elections and lost none, despite taking unpopular positions on various occasions. He served four years in the House of Representatives of the Territory of Hawai‘i, one year in the senate of the territory, eleven years in the senate of the State of Hawai‘i, and three years as lieutenant governor under the honorable Gov. John A. Burns. This was followed by an unprecedented thirteen years as governor—the first Asian-American governor in the United States and the first non-white, locally born person elected governor of Hawai‘i. Since leaving public office, he has been a major figure in Pacific and US–Asian relations.