Democrat Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Kawika Crowley are running against each other in the contest for the 2nd Congressional District.

Gabbard, the former Honolulu City Council member, state legislator and war veteran, you’ve heard of her.

Crowley, a handyman with a diverse background, is much less well known, except for those who have paid attention to recent battles over curbing smoking rights in bars, restaurants and other places.

In Monday’s Q&A with Crowley, the candidate talked with Civil Beat about his campaign platform, which focuses on the need to apply common sense to fix a dysfunctional Washington, D.C.

In this second and final installment, Crowley explains how he will defeat Gabbard by playing up his anti-rail, pro-traditional marriage positions.

He also shares the information that as many as 150 bars across the state allow smoking in their establishments in spite of anti-smoking laws. The interview was conducted at O’Toole’s Irish Pub in Honolulu, where Crowley puffed away on a cigar.

David v. ‘Gorgeous Goliath’

What do you think of Tulsi Gabbard?

As I called her previously on a television station, I called her the “Gorgeous Goliath.” I’m the David — I cannot call her a Goliath — the Goliath was Mufi, in her case. In my case, she’s the Gorgeous Goliath. She’s got her looks going for her, she’s very akamai, she’s got her dad behind her. Her dad (state Sen. Mike Gabbard) is a tremendous politician, I worked with him before. And you cannot take away from her two terms as a veteran in the war. Hats off to her. All my respect and appreciation for that.

But as far as issues? Night and day. I’m anti-rail, big time. The biggest government boondoggle that you can ever have in any city. You know why not one rail project in the United States or probably in the world is ever run by a private entity? A private company? Because it never makes money! It has to be funded by taxpayers’ money every single year.

Where else do you differ with Gabbard?

The main two things are rail, which I think is going to be a major factor in garnering support for me, and the other thing is that I am a firm, adamant believer in the sanctity of marriage. To be defined between a man and a woman. Now, I don’t care if you’re in love with a frog and you want to do whatever you want with her, that doesn’t bother me. A man and a man, you guys want to French kiss? Fine. I don’t give a shit. OK? A woman and a woman? But don’t define that union as a marriage. Marriage is a sanctified term that mankind has lived with for five, 10 thousand years. That’s the key.

Call it whatever you want — a union. And if you’ve got the law and attorneys and you’re smart, you can get all the benefits that you can. But they (gay-marriage supporters) are just trying to push their agenda on us in a manner that I disagree with. My opponent, Tulsi Gabbard, does not believe in the Defense of Marriage Act. She will call for its repeal. Those two factors (rail and gay marriage) are going to be huge factors when the public finds out.

Have you had any contact, or is there any support for you from the local Republican Party?

I went to their big celebration after the primary, sat next to Sam Slom. Sam and I are good friends. And, um … put it this way: I ain’t stupid. The word underdog — there’s no word for what I am at this point. I’m even worse than an underdog. So, for them (the party) to go and say, “Well, gee, Kawika Crowley have one chance against Tulsi?” I mean, that would be stupid. I realize that they have their priorities. They want to get Lingle in because Lingle’s almost a guarantee.

You think Linda Lingle will beat Mazie Hirono?

I do. It’s going to be a close one, but Lingle will prevail.

Colleen Hanabusa and Charles Djou?

Djou. I think we’ll have an upset. That’s sticking it out, but, see, I have said this to so many people, we are in the era of kick the mother-you-know-what out. Kick ’em out. Sweep ’em out, start all over. Kick out the career politicians. Djou is not a career politician. I’m certainly not a career politician. I ran for mayor of the Big Island in 1991 but got slaughtered. … But, Chad — and I always fly this flag — I was the first independent mayoral candidate in the history of the state to make it to the general. That was something. I lost my ass, but at least I was the first in something.

Has there been any discussion about debates or joint forums with Gabbard?

I don’t foresee it because they are afraid.

Why would they be afraid?

They don’t know the issues. They don’t know the issues like I do. Foreign relations, international, Hawaii, you name it, I got it down. I mean, I got it down. I mean, percentage wise, what we have to do, fiscally and everything else. Like I said, at the debates with the Democrats, all I heard was a bunch of (gibberish). A bunch of B.S.

I didn’t hear anything substantive. I was waiting for, you know, “What are we going to do with the Jones Act?” How are we going to get LNG (liquified natural gas) in here — that’s the wave of the future. We can’t get them in here. Why? Because of the Jones Act — it has to be an American-made ship, American sailors and all this other B.S. So what happens? Everyone else gets the (LNG) but we don’t.

I almost guarantee you that if I begged them for a debate they would refuse. I challenge them if they’ve got the huevos to do it. Hey, I’m ready.


Da kine down there, you know what I mean?

The Smoking Guy

OK. Another question. I saw Gabbard the morning after the election and I asked her if she knew who her opponent was in the general. And she said, “The smoking guy.” What does that mean, when you hear someone say “the smoking guy”?

Well, I’ve worn many different hats in my lifetime. I was a single parent, raised my three kids by myself for 10 years. Wrote a book on how to do that. I was a guest lecturer at the University of Hawaii for marketing. I had my own TV show — hosted my own late-night TV show in Hilo called “Night Moves Hawaii.” I mean, you name it, I’ve done it.

The hat that a lot of people — people have short memories — the hat that people know me by the most is all of the media exposure I’ve had with the Hawaii Bar Owners Association. (O’Toole’s) became our headquarters. And in a matter of two years — dig this, you won’t believe this — in a matter of two years a bunch of vagabonds, just average Joes hitting that damn Capitol, boom, with ideas and different strategies. Sam Slom said he has never seen a more strategically executed lobbying campaign in all his years. That’s in our second year. By our third year we were considered the bible of anti-smoking-ban movements across the nation.

So, to this day, Hawaii Smokers Alliance is the source for literally hundreds of inquiries from all over — you know, “How did you guys do it? What was your strategy?”

We are here in a bar and you are smoking a cigar. Isn’t that illegal?

No. They’re following all the rules. They are informing people, “Oh, you cannot smoke.” But, if you want to do it, you’ve already been informed. And that’s the key.

There’s no penalty for lighting up?

No. No.

How many other places are there where you can you do this?

Are you going to print this?

Well, it is an interview on the record.

All right, OK, Chad. I’ll tell you this: You’re the first outlet in six years that knows this. My strategy from the beginning was “defy and unity in numbers.” When you defy, just like Mr. Martin Luther King said, “If a law is unjust you are required to disobey it.” And we feel the (smoking ban) law is unjust, it’s federal government regulations getting into our pants and everything else. It should be up to the bar owner to decide and let the customer, once he sees this is a smoking-friendly bar, say, “Oh, I don’t want to come in here.”

Now, my strategy was to get as many bar owners unified to defy, and it worked. Right now, there are — you will not hear this from the Department of Health, because it’s going to make them look bad — but I’m telling you right now, and this is the first time it’s been told publicly, there are over 125 bars across the state who are allowing smoking in one way or another. Outright, like here (O’Toole’s), or in the back room with mama-san, or after you buy sister one drink, then go over here in this corner and nobody bother. I’d say maybe 150. …

What about enforcement of the law?

The thing is, it’s so overwhelming for the Health Department, they’ve got so many issues, somebody actually has to go in and complain. We’ve had a few instances, but it’s just a pain in the ass. Enforcement is a pain in the ass.

You know, it occurred to me that if you did get elected and Republicans retain control in the House, it’s my understanding that Speaker John Boehner is a smoker. Did you know that?

I think he’s a wise man. …

I must interject here: Probably the most powerful point of my campaign, our founding fathers — I get tears just thinking about this — our founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew that the minute I step in Washington, D.C., I’d be getting paid $179,000 a year. That’s 15 grand a month. What the hell am I going to do with 15 grand a month? I make that in a good year as a handyman. It’s not right. It’s overspending of government. That’s the very damn thing (why) I want to get to Washington and help bring back sanity.

So, you know what I’m going to do? And I am going to encourage every single congressman to do the same thing I’m going to do: give half of your salary to the Wounded Warriors project. Those are the guys who need it the most. The guys who came back from Afghanistan wounded, or Iraq wounded, paralyzed for life.

On my website,, it’s called the $90,000 promise. Half of my salary is going to the Wounded Warriors project. And I dare anybody — not dare, I challenge — Tulsi to do the same.

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