Thomas Gill (U.S. politician)

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Thomas Gill
Thomas Gill.jpg
3rd Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
In office
December 2, 1966 – December 2, 1970
Governor John A. Burns
Preceded by William S. Richardson
Succeeded by George Ariyoshi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by Daniel Inouye
Succeeded by Patsy Mink
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 15th district
In office
1958–1962
Personal details
Born Thomas Ponce Gill
(1922-04-21)April 21, 1922
Honolulu, Hawaii
Died June 3, 2009(2009-06-03) (aged 87)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Resting place National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lois Hanawalt
Children Thomas, Andrea, Eric, Ivan, Timothy, Gary
Occupation Attorney
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Rank Technical Sergeant
Unit Hawaii Territorial Guard
24th Infantry Division
Battles/wars New Guinea Campaign
Philippines Campaign

Thomas Ponce Gill (April 21, 1922 – June 3, 2009), was a Hawaii politician. A member of the Democratic party, he served in the United States Congress from 1963 to 1965 and was the third Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii from 1966 to 1970. He unsuccessfully ran for governor twice, in 1970 and 1974.

Early life[edit]

Born in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, Gill attended public schools (Lincoln Elementary and Roosevelt High School).[1] He was a decorated infantryman in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.[1]

After the war, he attended law school at Boalt Hall at UC-Berkeley and began practicing law in Hawaii.[2]

Career[edit]

Gill served in Hawaii's territorial legislature and, after statehood in 1959, became a member of the first state house delegation. He was elected to one of his state's two Congressional seats in 1962 and served one term. In Congress, he was a staunch supporter of liberal causes, including civil rights. He then worked as the director of Hawaii's Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1966, he was elected Lieutenant Governor with incumbent Governor John A. Burns.

During his term as Lieutenant Governor, Gill, considered outspoken and acerbic, developed differences with Burns, and was never shy about criticizing the incumbent, despite being part of his administration. In 1970, Gill challenged Burns in the Democratic primary. Gill ran as a reformer, campaigning against what he described as an entrenched, corrupt political machine. He narrowly lost, even though Burns significantly outspent him in a savvy campaign that included sophisticated use of expensive image-building television spots. Most in the state's large Japanese population remained loyal to Burns, who had spearheaded their rise to political power during the 1950s. The race still stands as the closest anyone has come to a primary defeat of an incumbent governor of Hawaii.[3] Gill ran in the primary for governor again in 1974, but lost again in the primary to George Ariyoshi, who had succeeded him as lieutenant governor. After failing both campaigns, he resumed his career as a lawyer.

Papers[edit]

Thomas P. Gill donated 86 record center boxes of material to the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library in May 2001. The bulk of the papers cover Gill’s two years in Congress and four years in the Hawaii Lt. Governor’s office. The collection is rich in material documenting his enthusiastic political life and his concerns about nuclear power; the environment; land development, especially on the Big Island of Hawaii; social and economic justice; and the high cost of living in Hawaii. There is a smaller amount of material from his pre- and post-Congressional life.

The papers are arranged in five series: Political Offices (held by Gill), 1955–1970; Politics (Democratic Party, Hawaii and National), 1952–1972; Personal (election campaigns and biographical material), 1939–2001; Memorabilia (mostly election campaigns), 1940–2005 and bulk 1958-1980; Audiovisual (audiotapes, films, photographs; primarily election campaigns and Big Island development), 1958-1974.

The papers were arranged and described from July 2005 through March 2006 by archivist Ellen Chapman, and are available to researchers in the Library's Archives & Manuscripts Department by appointment. A Finding Aid, which provides a timeline, series descriptions, and list of specific topics covered in the collection is available at The Thomas P. Gill Papers web site.

Personal life[edit]

Gill has two sons who have been involved in Hawaiian politics. His son Gary served on the Honolulu City Council and son Tony is a labor lawyer who considered seeking the governorship in 2006. Gill died in 2009 in Honolulu, aged 87.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Thomas P. Gill Papers, University of Hawaiʻi Library
  2. ^ a b Tom Gill, 87, was wild card of politics
  3. ^ Coffman, Tom (1986). Catch a Wave: Case Study of Hawaii's New Politics. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-0270-5. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William S. Richardson
Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
1966–1970
Succeeded by
George Ariyoshi
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Inouye
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1963 - January 3, 1965
Succeeded by
Patsy Mink
Party political offices
Preceded by
New office
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Hawaii
(class 1)

1964
Succeeded by
Cecil Heftel