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John David Waihee III

(b. 1946)

Born in Honoka`a on the island of Hawai`i, John Waihee became part of a new generation of activist Hawaiians who fought for political and cultural recognition in the 1970s and `80s. Waihee was educated at Andrews University and Central Michigan University, later earning his law degree as a member of the first graduating class of the University of Hawaii's Law School in 1976.

In 1978, Waihee was a delegate to the Hawai`i State Constitutional Convention and helped establish the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). In 1980, he won office as a state representative and in 1982, he became lieutenant governor. In 1986, he followed Ariyoshi as governor, serving two terms. Waihee was the first state governor of Hawaiian ancestry; Samuel King had been the only Hawaiian territorial governor. During Waihee's time in office, Hawai`i enjoyed economic boom years and Waihee established a friendly and productive relationship with Governor (then President) Bill Clinton.

Since the end of his governorship in 1994, Waihee has worked as a lobbyist for Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand in Washington, D.C. In 1999, he was also appointed head of the American Samoa Economic Advisory Commission.

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