John Anthony Burns
Originally from Montana, Burns finished high school in Honolulu (St. Louis) and attended the University of Hawai`i. From 1934
, Burns was in the Honolulu Police Department, becoming a captain in 1941
. In the early 1950s
, he was administrator of O`ahu Civil Defense in addition to operating retail and real estate businesses.
Burns gained political prominence when he became chair of the Democratic County Committee in 1948
. From 1957
he was a territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress and was instrumental in gaining statehood for Hawai`i, using support for Alaskan statehood to win the same status for the Islands.
After losing his first governor's race to incumbent Governor Quinn
, Burns won in 1962
with strong support from unions and American-Japanese veterans of World War II. Burns’ election led a movement that turned majority political support from Republicans to the Democrats for the first time in Hawaii's history. A very popular leader, Burns was elected governor three times; he retired after the end of his third term in 1974
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