Thomas Gill (politician) Information (Person)

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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
Personal details
Thomas Ponce Gill

(1922-04-21)April 21, 1922
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
DiedJune 3, 2009(2009-06-03) (aged 87)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting place National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Lois Hanawalt
Education University of Hawaii, Manoa
University of California, Berkeley ( BA, LLB)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service1942–1945
Rank Technical Sergeant
Unit Hawaii Territorial Guard
24th Infantry
Battles/wars New Guinea Campaign
Philippines Campaign
Awards Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart

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

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]


Gill served in Hawaii's territorial legislature and, after statehood in 1959, became a member of the first state house delegation, representing the 15th district until his time in Congress. 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 1964, Gill chose not to seek reelection and instead ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator, losing to Republican incumbent Hiram Fong. 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. Before Neil Abercrombie lost in 2014 this race stood as the closest anyone came 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.


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

Gill was the son of Thomas Gill (born in New York in 1870) and Lorin Johnston Tarr (born in Kansas in 1889), and the grandson of Dr. Charles Robert Gill (born in New York in 1821) and María Dolores Ponce de León (born in Cuba in 1834 to Cuban parents). [4]

Gill married Lois Hanawalt in 1947 and had six children, [5] including 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]

See also


  1. ^ a b The Thomas P. Gill Papers, University of Hawaiʻi Library Archived 2004-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Tom Gill, 87, was wild card of politics Archived 2009-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Coffman, Tom (1986). Catch a Wave: Case Study of Hawaii's New Politics. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN  0-8248-0270-5.
  4. ^ Nellist, George F. (1925), The Story of Hawaii and Its Builders, with which is incorporated Volume III Men of Hawaii, Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Ltd., p. 467 (
  5. ^ [1]

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Inouye
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Patsy Mink
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Fasi
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Hawaii
( Class 1)

Succeeded by
Cecil Heftel
Political offices
Preceded by
William S. Richardson
Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
Succeeded by
George Ariyoshi