It is one of only two holidays in the United States dedicated to royalty, the other being Hawaii's King Kamehameha Day on June 11.
In 1901 Kuhio switched parties and joined the Republicans. He was disillusioned with the lack of progress made by the Home Rule Party, and its control by "radicals". The Republicans eagerly accepted him into the fold. By endorsing the heir to the throne of the Hawaiian kingdom they gained significant support in local communities, and Kuhio was given a strong leadership position.
Kuhio was elected delegate to the U.S. Congress in a landslide victory for the Republicans, and helped establish a Republican hold on the legislature. He served from March 4, 1903 until his death, winning a total of ten elections. During this time he instituted local government at the county level, creating the county system still used today in Hawaiʻi. He staffed the civil service positions that resulted with Hawaiian appointees. In 1919, Kuhio introduced in Congress the first-ever Hawaii Statehood Act. It would be another 40 years before seeing fruition.
Kuhio died on January 7, 1922.