Benjamin Jerome or “Ben” Cayetano served as Governor from 1994 to 2002. He was the Nation’s first Filipino-American Governor. Throughout his tenure in office, Cayetano had to contend with economic uncertainty and serious fiscal problems. He developed an economic recovery plan, constructed a new state convention center, a new state art museum and began construction of a new medical school-research center for the University of Hawaiʻi. Sixteen new schools were also built under the Cayetano administration.
Vicky Tiu Liu met Ben Cayetano while he was in office as Governor. They celebrated their marriage at Washington Place on May 5, 1997, while also celebrating the joining of their families—two children from her former marriage, and three from his. Mrs. Cayetano was First Lady from 1997 to 2002. As a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur (President and CEO of United Laundry Services), she managed to raise $1.2 million from private donations to build the Governor’s house behind Washington Place, hire the first director, historian, and curator of Washington Place (Jim Bartels), and begin the opening of the second floor galleries.
On Being First Lady…
To appreciate the kind of influence this role can have in terms of helping people. And with it comes a great sense of responsibility of what I can do for others.
The governors who have lived here and the future governors to come—we are just caretakers. Living here, I have developed a sense of reverence and responsibility to future generations. I am always aware that this is the Queen’s home, and when you walk through it people should be honored to be in her presence.
View curated photos from each governor and their families during their residences at Washington Place. Hit the right and left arrows to view more.
Benjamin Jerome Cayetano
Governor Cayetano, Paul Anka, and First Lady
A Tiffany Tea for Washington Place Foundation
Governor Cayetano, Jim Nabors, and First Lady
Greetings with Vice President Al Gore
In Celebration of the Sesquicentennial of Washington Place 1846-1996
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Washington Place
Mrs. Cayetano read the class "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss
Vicky Cayetano discusses life at Washington Place and the preservation need to build a separate Governor’s residence. The article explores how the second floor appeared under the Cayetano Family and the plans for a new residence. It further introduces Jim Bartels, first Curator and Director of Washington Place, and how their collaboration started.
Citation: Choo, David. “This Old Place.” Hawaii Home + Remodeling. Jan 2002, vol 1: no 1: 6-12.
Hawaii State Governors
320 S Beretania St Honolulu, HI 96813