Hiram L. Fong (1906–2004) was an American politician and the first Asian-American to be elected as a U.S. Senator. He was a member of the Republican Party.
Fong was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1959, the same year Hawaii became a state. He made history as the first Asian-American to serve in the Senate.
Hiram Fong served in the Senate from 1959 to 1977. During his time in office, he focused on issues such as civil rights, foreign affairs, and small business.
Here is a brief overview of his life and career:
- Early Life and Education:
- Hiram Leong Fong was born on October 15, 1906, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- He was of Chinese descent, and his parents were immigrants from Guangdong Province, China.
- Fong attended the University of Hawaii and later studied law at Harvard Law School.
- Political Career:
- Fong began his political career as a member of the territorial House of Representatives in Hawaii in the 1930s.
- He served in the military during World War II.
- In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States, and the same year, Hiram Fong was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, making history as the first Asian-American senator.
- He was re-elected twice and served in the Senate from 1959 to 1977.
- Contributions and Legacy:
- Fong was known for his advocacy of civil rights, foreign affairs, and small businesses during his time in the Senate.
- He co-sponsored the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Fong also ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1964 but was not successful.
- After leaving the Senate, he continued to be involved in business and public service.
- Later Life:
- Hiram Fong ran for Governor of Hawaii in 1970 but was unsuccessful.
- He remained active in various civic and business activities.
- Fong passed away on August 18, 2004, in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 97.
Hiram L. Fong’s historic election to the U.S. Senate marked a significant milestone in Asian-American political representation in the United States.
His contributions to civil rights and public service continue to be remembered as part of American political history.