Ben Cayetano grew up in Kalihi on O`ahu, raised by a divorced immigrant father from the Philippines. After graduating from Farrington High School, Cayetano attended UCLA and Loyola University Law School, working his way through school as a draftsman on the Apollo spacecraft project.
Cayetano began his career in government in 1972
when he was appointed to the Hawai`i Housing Authority by Governor Burns. In 1974
, he was elected to the State House of Representatives, followed by election to the State Senate in 1978
. From there he moved to the lieutenant governorship in 1986
, a path several others had followed to the chief executive's office. Beginning in 1994
, Cayetano served two terms as governor, holding his post as the highest-ranking Filipino-American official in the country. During his tenure, Hawai`i experienced an economic downturn, the state's teachers went on strike and the attorney general's office conducted a criminal investigation of Bishop Estate, one of the wealthiest private estates in the Islands. Cayetano married for a second time while in office, and presided over the first wedding reception of a sitting governor ever hosted in Washington Place, the governor's mansion.
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