Neil Abercrombie became Hawaii’s seventh governor on December 6, 2010, after serving more than 20 years in Congress.
Raised in Williamsville, New York, Abercrombie moved to Hawaii in September 1959, the month after Hawaii achieved statehood. Abercrombie holds a master’s degree in sociology and a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
After working as an elementary school teacher and college lecturer, Abercrombie went on to serve in the Hawaii legislature from 1975 to 1986, during which he helped start the award-winning Healthy Start prevention program for at-risk mothers and children. In 1986, Abercrombie won a special election to Congress to fill the remaining term of U.S. Rep. Cec Heftel. Abercrombie then returned home to the islands to serve as special assistant to the Superintendent of Education, aiding in the implementation of the state’s distance-learning programs. From 1988 to 1990, Abercrombie served on the Honolulu City Council and then, in 1990, returned to Congress to represent Hawaii’s first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He resigned from Congress on December 11, 2009 to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.