This Democratic Party politician held office as Lieutenant Governor of California from 1983 until 1995. Previously, while representing his state's 18th and 19th district constituencies, he had served as Speaker of the California State Assembly.
After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a degree in history, he attended the San Francisco Law School.
During the early 1950s, he was involved in the Korean War as a member of the United States Air Force.
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, he relocated to the United States during his early childhood. His marriage to Jacqueline Lee Burke resulted in children named Niall, Conna, Adam, and Sharon.
He served as Lieutenant Governor under the California gubernatorial administrations of George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson.