|Name||Benjamin J. Cayetano|
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96826, United States
|| November 14, 1939
|Last Modifed||Gerald Farinas|
Jan 06, 2004 11:41am
Asian - Liberal - Christian -
|Info||Benjamin J. Cayetano was the nation's first Governor of Filipino Ancestry. He served two four-year terms as Governor of the State of Hawai'i from 1994 to 2002. |
Cayetano grew up in Kalihi in Honolulu, a graduate of Farrington High School, aptly named the "Home of the Governors." Despite poor studies in high school, he later went on to excel in college. He would be the first in his family to finish higher education.
Cayetano received a Bacheler of Arts degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles in 1968. Determined to succeed beyond his family's expectations, he went on to obtain a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Marymount University Law School in 1971.
Upon graduating from law school, he struggled to begin a career in Honolulu at several law firms. It was then that the legendary Governor John Burns would convince him to go into a life of public service. Cayetano, in modest fashion, told Burns there was "no chance in hell" would people vote for a Filipino boy from Kalihi. That reluctance led him to win every political race he had ever entered for the next 30 years of his life.
In 1974 Cayetano was elected to the Hawai'i State Legislature. Four years later he was elected to the Hawai'i State Senate where he served until 1986. That year, Cayetano became only the second Asian-American to become Lt. Governor of any state.
Cayetano served two terms as Lt. Governor of Hawai'i under Governor John Waihee. He succeeded Waihee in 1994.
Cayetano cut taxes to stimulate the state's economy, promoted welfare reform, affordable housing, and education. He is known for having built the most schools and modern affordable housing complexes in the state's history. He is also the father of Hawai'i's A+ Program for latchkey school children.
After leaving Washington Place [the Governor's Mansion and former residence of the Queen], Cayetano still enjoys his status as one of "Hawai'i's most admired men."