Ariyoshi, George Ryoichi



Autograph Letter Signed 12/27/1976 8-1/2 x 11 to Mr Terry Don Coppinger 2 pages re: Bicentinnial with envelope

"George Ryoichi Ariyoshi (born March 12, 1926), served as the third Governor of Hawaii from 1974 to 1986. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He assumed the governorship when John A. Burns was declared incapacitated. When he was elected, Ariyoshi became the first American of Asian descent to be elected governor of a state of the United States. He also holds the record as the longest-serving state governor in Hawai Şi, a record that will likely never be broken because of term limits. Ariyoshi is now considered an elder statesman of the Democratic Party of Hawai Şi.

Ariyoshi's political career began in 1954 when he was elected to the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives. He was later elected to the Hawaii Territorial Senate in 1958, then to the Hawaii State Senate in 1959. He served in the senate until 1970 when he ran for and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii in 1970 with Governor John A. Burns. When Governor Burns fell ill in October 1973, Ariyoshi assumed his constitutional role as acting governor.

Ariyoshi has also served as president of the Hawaii Bar Association and served on the board of directors for First Hawaiian Bank, the Honolulu Gas Company and Hawaiian Insurance Guaranty Company. He also served on the board of governors at the East-West Center, based in Honolulu, an internationally known education and research organization that was established by U.S. Congress. As governor, he is credited with revitalizing the organization, and joined the board when his term as governor ended. He served five terms as chairman, until he was not reappointed by Republican Governor Linda Lingle, in 2003.

After his term as governor, in 1987, Ariyoshi and his wife were stopped by U.S. Customs at the Honolulu International Airport because they failed to declare over $30,000.00 worth of jewelry after returning from a trip to Japan. The Ariyoshis paid $11,389.00 in fines. Former Gov. Ariyoshi resigned from the Board of Directors of First Hawaiian Bank to spare them "any embarrassment"