Five Questions: Charles Djou Ed Case is the best choice for Congress
By Charles Djou
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CONGRESS, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER THAT SETS YOU APART FROM THE OTHER CANDIDATES?
I'm running for the United States Congress because I believe I can make a difference. My record as a state representative and city councilman have been about fiscal responsibility and government accountability. What sets me apart is I believe that it is more important to elect a congressman who will hold down your taxes and let you keep more of your money than elect a congressman who wants to spend all of your money. And I philosophically understand that every single dollar the government spends comes from a taxpayer like you. And that distinguishes me, more than anything else, from my opponents.
WHAT SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE MOST PREPARED YOU FOR CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE?
While I think it has been helpful for me to have been both a state representative as well as a member of the Honolulu City Council, I think what is most compelling for me in my life has been that raising three children here in Hawai'i has been an enormous blessing. I understand how fortunate I and my wife are to raise children here in Hawai'i but we also understand how difficult and challenging it can be to raise a family in the state with the nation's highest cost of living. And when I take positions on public policy, I understand what it means in context for my children. In the U.S. Congress right now, we're running enormous budget deficits. We're spending money like no tomorrow. And worse yet, spending it on programs that don't work, and worse than that, spending money on programs that don't work with no plan to pay it back other than hand the bill to our children. It compels me and prepares me, I think well, to be a representative from the state of Hawai'i.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF YOUR POLITICAL CAREER?
I think it's been (to be) a consistent and clear fiscal watchdog, both at the state (level) as well as the City Council. I'm very proud of my record of having passed spending and debt ceilings at City Hall. But I think a close second to that would be my advocacy for ethics reform at the city government, cleaning up the Honolulu Liquor Commission, as well as allowing the city Ethics Commission to issue civil fines.
HEALTH CARE REFORM HAS BEEN ONE OF THE DEFINING ISSUES IN WASHINGTON. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT STEP SHOULD BE?
I would not have voted in favor of the trillion-dollar health care program, which is being financed by a $600 billion tax increase in the middle of this economic recession. But I think what we need to do now is introduce some real, major reforms into this legislation that was passed. Specifically, we need to allow the interstate sale of health insurance. I believe that we need to change our tax code, tax structure, and most of all I think we need to institute medical malpractice tort reform. If I'm fortunate enough to be elected into Congress, I will push for these reforms.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF HELPING TAME THE EXTREMELY DIVISIVE AND PARTISAN LANDSCAPE OF CAPITOL HILL?
I go back to my record as a representative as well as a city councilman. I'm very proud of the fact that even though I am the only Republican on the Honolulu City Council, in the past four years I have passed more bills on the City Council than any other of my colleagues. For me, my first priority has been and will always be the people of Hawai'i. And if I ever have to choose between advocating for Hawai'i and advocating for my party, that's a very simple choice. I will advocate on behalf of my constituents. And I think if all members of Congress understood that, we'd get far more done.