Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this Object
Victor Houston, a former U.S. Navy officer descended from a prominent Hawaiian family, represented the Territory of Hawaii for six years.
On this date, Victor S. K. Houston
, naval veteran and three-term Republican Delegate from the Hawaii Territory, died in Honolulu, less than a month before the territory officially became the 50th U.S. state
. Houston first won election in 1926, successfully challenging the popular incumbent, Democrat Bill Jarrett
. Houston spent his career in Washington defending the economy interests and sovereignty of Hawaii. Like many other Hawaiian Delegates, Houston dedicated most of his efforts to winning federal funding for various projects on the islands, including roughly $1 million for highways. As a U.S. Navy veteran, he took particular interest in the military’s significant presence in Hawaii, expanding its infrastructure and raising pay for servicemembers. Houston often testified on behalf of Hawaii’s prominent sugar industry, securing favorable tariffs in the face of mainland competition and maintaining steady immigration quotas to fuel the islands’ workforce. “We in Hawaii have heretofore rather prided ourselves that because of lack of racial prejudice in the islands,” he stated in a hearing to provide an exemption for Filipino laborers to immigrate to the territory. Faced with the aftermath of the scandalous Massie Affair
and the onset of the Great Depression, Houston lost re-election against Democrat Lincoln McCandless
in 1932 and largely retired from public life.