Editor’s Note: In June 2012, Civil Beat sent 10 questions to each of the candidates registered to run in the Aug. 11 primary for U.S. Congressional District 1. All five responded, including Charles Djou. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read the responses by Colleen Hanabusa to see how Djou’s positions compare to those of his main competitor. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Djou’s response.

1. President Obama has significantly increased the use of drones to assassinate terrorist targets. The policy has been criticized for denying due process rights for at least one American living abroad, and for the collateral killing of civilians. Do you support this policy — why or why not?

As an Army combat veteran who worked with drones in Afghanistan, I have seen how drones have saved lives and minimized both allied and enemy casualties. While not perfect, the use of drones is appropriate in military combat. ↩ back to top

2. Transportation and infrastructure are critical to an island state — especially the neighbor islands. How would you work to increase federal support for Hawaii’s roads, airports and harbors?

For a small state, such as Hawai‘i, a bipartisan congressional delegation is critical to ensuring that Hawai‘i’s needs, including its transportation needs, are met. I have a long record of working with both Democrats and Republicans, and will be a vigorous advocate for Hawai‘i with members of both parties should I have the privilege of representing Hawai‘i in Congress. ↩ back to top

3.A divided U.S. Congress has not been able to come to agreement on how to lower the federal debt, in spite of bipartisan recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and others. What is your evaluation of those recommendations, which include hard decisions regarding entitlement programs, defense spending and taxes?

While in Congress, I joined an effort led by Blue-Dog Democrats to push then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the Simpson-Bowles recommendations to the House floor for a vote. While I do not support every aspect of Simpson-Bowles, I believe it is a good starting point to address our nation’s major fiscal problems. ↩ back to top

4.The major issue for most candidates is jobs and the economy. Can you identify a concrete example of how you as representative would go about stimulating growth both nationally and in Hawaii?

Our economy improves and jobs are created when government reduces taxes and limits the regulations it imposes on people and businesses to expand commerce. For example, as a congressman, I co-sponsored a resolution calling for free trade with the Philippines to expand our markets. Reducing international trade taxes and regulations, particularly with East Asian countries, will help Hawai‘i and America create jobs and spur economic growth. ↩ back to top

5.Regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, what would your goals be in terms of health care policy as a representative? Would you support universal health care?

Health care costs are increasing too fast in our country and too many of our fellow citizens remain uninsured. I will consider any sensible idea for improving our health care system, such as tort reform, but any change must address spiraling costs and insure more Americans without limiting health options or harming the doctor-patient relationship. ↩ back to top

6.Global warming is real, and rising sea levels will certainly impact Hawaii. What steps would you take as a U.S. Representative to mitigate the effects of global warming?

I am committed to a long-term energy strategy for America and Hawai‘i that brings us independence from foreign oil. I will fight for federal support of Hawai‘i’s alternative energy projects and will only support environmentally sound and responsible efforts to enlarge America’s domestic supply of oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. While on the City Council, I fought to bring curbside recycling to Oahu and called for reductions in the City’s energy usage. I also successfully passed legislation establishing tax exemptions for renewable energy projects in Hawai‘i and expanding the zoning code to better accommodate renewable energy on Oahu. ↩ back to top

7.Longtime D.C. observers say the inability of the two major parties to work with each other has never been worse, especially in the U.S. House. Many experienced leaders are leaving office rather than continue in such a hostile climate. Is compromise necessary to governance — and if so, how would you reach out to your colleagues to craft and pass legislation?

Hawai‘i needs bipartisan representation in Congress. We need representatives who will vigorously advocate for Hawai‘i and will always put Hawai‘i’s interests first. If elected, I will never forget that I work for the people of Hawai‘i, not any political party or special interest. During my term in Congress, the National Journal rated me as one of only nine truly “centrist” members of Congress. I plan to continue this record if honored by the people with another term. ↩ back to top

8.How is the 2nd Congressional District different from the 1st Congressional District? Or are their issues largely the same?

The issues facing the first congressional district, which comprises urban Oahu, are slightly different than the rest of the state. In particular, the military plays a greater role in the 1st district’s economy and Honolulu’s commercial network is more international. That is why I have been an advocate for a strong national defense and international free trade. ↩ back to top

9.What is the best thing the 112th Congress did, and why? What’s the worst thing, and why?

Under the new Republican majority, the US House adopted a more open and transparent legislative structure. Now, most bills are posted with at least three days’ notice. The previous Congress often passed major bills, such as health care reform or financial regulatory reform, with minimal public notice. I applaud efforts to adopt a more open and transparent democratic process. However, the inability for Republicans and Democrats to come together for the common good of the American people is the greatest failure of politics today. I am disappointed that there are too few true moderates left in Congress and I am running, in part, to change this. ↩ back to top

10. What is an issue you think is important to address as a U.S. House candidate — one that perhaps has not been given sufficient attention during the campaign?

As a small state in the middle of the Pacific, Hawai‘i is vulnerable to being ignored with a one-party congressional delegation. Hawai‘i enjoyed a de-facto bipartisan delegation for decades through Senator Inouye’s relationship with Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who long looked out for Hawai‘i’s interests with GOP members of congress. With Sen. Stevens’ passing, Hawai‘i has no one who can effectively communicate Hawai‘i’s concerns and represent Hawai‘i’s interests with the new Republican majority in the U.S. House. Hawai‘i now needs a bipartisan delegation more than ever. ↩ back to top

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