Our man in Washington
U.S. Rep. Charles K. Djou
On Saturday night, the voters of the First Congressional District of Hawai'i afforded me the incredible privilege of representing them in our nation's Capitol. With this great privilege, I understand comes tremendous responsibility.
For every day I am fortunate enough to serve the people of Hawai'i, I will never forget that. I spent my first week in elected office trying to live up to that responsibility.
Following Saturday night's election results, I spent all of Sunday calling as many people as I could to thank them for their kind words and support over the last few months. A campaign isn't a one man show — it takes hundreds of committed individuals, who want the best for their government, donating their time and resources.
I was fortunate to have many such volunteers who were willing to wake up early in the morning to signwave with me, to reach out to voters by telephone, and to knock on doors in their neighborhoods throughout the district. On Sunday, I also met with television and newspaper reporters to discuss the campaign and my priorities in Congress.
On the following day, Monday, I immediately transitioned my responsibilities on the Honolulu City Council and departed for Washington, D.C, arriving early Tuesday to be sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Being sworn in as a member of Congress is a humbling experience. Standing in the House well, I was joined on the floor by my daughter, Tori. My wife, Stacey, my youngest daughter, Alli, and my mother watched eagerly from the first row of the visitors' gallery.
Also, in attendance were students from Our Redeemer Lutheran School of Honolulu, who happened to be visiting D.C. on a class trip when the election results were announced. I was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and was sworn in by the House speaker, on a Bible held by my daughter Tori that had been given to me for this very occasion by my friend and campaign treasurer.
Following the oath of office, I gave a short floor speech thanking my family, my parents SK and Sue, who immigrated from China and Thailand, respectively. I noted that it was my good fortune to have been born and raised as an American, as had I been born and lived in either of my parents' home countries, the thought that I could become a maker of laws in either China or Thailand would be impossible.
It is a testimony to the greatness of our country that such is possible for a son of immigrants. I also thanked my family, my wife and children. They are the reason I wake up every day grateful to have so much, but committed to doing more.
Since being sworn in, I have had numerous meetings with my colleagues, including positive discussions with the Hawai'i congressional delegation. I am eager to work with both of Hawai'i's senators and Representative Hirono to zealously advocate for the people of Hawai'i.
On Wednesday, my first official act as your congressman was to co-sponsor legislation to mandate that Congress pass a balanced budget. Every family in Hawai'i has to balance its budget and so should the federal government.
The last thing we want to see happen in our nation is the economic chaos occurring in Greece. If we do not take care of our ballooning budget deficit and growing national debt, that's exactly what will happen here. That's why I campaigned on a message of fiscal responsibility and will follow through as your congressman.
On Friday, I was very fortunate to be assigned to the Budget and Armed Services Committees. Coming in midterm through a special election often means that options are few as most committee assignments have already been made. Being assigned to the Budget Committee will allow me to focus on ensuring a more fiscally responsible federal government, while Armed Services will allow me to concentrate on our state's second largest industry, defense, which is critical to Hawai'i's economy.
In closing, I must thank the voters for giving me the privilege and honor of serving them in Washington. I will work every day to prove the trust afforded me is deserved. As long as I am able to serve, I will never forget the faith and confidence vested in me by the people of Hawai'i. I look forward to beginning the hard work of doing good, bringing change, and restoring America to prosperity on behalf of the people of Hawai'i.
U.S. Rep. Charles K. Djou, a Republican, represents the First Congressional District.