1) Would you support extending the Bush tax cuts? If so, why? If not, what should be done with the tax cuts and why?
After record spending, deficits and debt, the majority in Congress is poised to allow the largest tax increase in American history to occur. Raising taxes in the middle of an economic downturn will hurt all Americans, especially small business owners—the engine of our economy.
2) Should American citizens suspected of terrorism and arrested on foreign soil be held without trial? Should the government use drones for targeted killings away from the battlefield? Is waterboarding torture? Why or why not?
All Americans citizens should be entitled to a free and fair trial. Unmanned drones are an appropriate weapon for use in combat. I do not support torture. The US Army field manual on the handling of prisoners of war is the appropriate standard for handling enemy combatants.
3) Should the U.S. ban deep-sea offshore drilling?
I was one of only 11 Republicans who voted to support President Obama’s temporary moratorium on off-shore drilling. Like the President, however, I do not support a permanent ban on offshore drilling.
4) Would you support the U.S. extending its mission in either Afghanistan or Iraq? Should the U.S. consider a preemptive strike against Iran?
I agree with President Obama that Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan is a war of necessity that we must win. As a member of the US Army Reserve, I have friends serving in the Afghan combat theater. While I do not want a single American soldier in harm’s way a day longer than necessary, our nation must stay committed to building a safe and stable Afghanistan.
A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to the United States, to our ally Israel and to the Western world. I am nevertheless hopeful that a peaceful, diplomatic solution can be found. I was proud to be part of an overwhelming, bipartisan measure that passed both houses of Congress and is now law sanctioning the Iranian regime.
5) Do you support the regulation of the financial industry just signed into law? Why or Why not?
While I agree that financial regulatory reform is needed, the bill that was just signed into law is inadequate at best. The biggest failure of this measure was that it did not address Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the real root causes for the financial turmoil that began in 2008. In addition to doing nothing to reform the actual problem, this bill makes permanent “too big to fail,” and still puts taxpayers on the hook for reckless behavior by big Wall Street banks. This bill would not stop a similar financial meltdown from occurring today because all of the structural problems still exist.
6) What is the biggest environmental problem facing the country and why? What would you do about it?
The biggest environmental problem facing our nation is our addiction to foreign oil. I believe that we threaten not just the earth, but also our national security. I support an expansion of all domestic energy production, including alternative energy sources.
7) Do you support a cap and trade approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions or would you favor a carbon tax instead? Or neither?
I do not support a national energy tax. I believe that there are better ways to reduce carbon emissions and encourage alternative energy production.
8) Do you support the Akaka bill? if so, what would you tell Hawaii residents will happen if it it passes? What will it mean to the state? If not, why not?
I support the Akaka Bill, as amended. Native Hawaiians deserve to be treated similarly by the Federal government as Native Americans.
9) What is the best thing the last Congress did? Why?
Congress and the President have remained firm and resolute to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
9) What’s the worst thing? Why?
The current Congress has adopted a spend, spend and spend some more mentality that has caused the budget deficit to triple and the national deficit to balloon to unsustainable levels. This has been made even worse by the failure of the US House to pass a budget for the first time in modern American history. The current majority in Congress is recklessly mortgaging our children’s future with its careless fiscal practices. Unless we immediately establish a sense of fiscal responsibility to Congress, we run the very real risk of leaving the next generation of Americans worse off for the first time in our history because of the mountain of debt incurred by this Congress.
10) Transportation and infrastructure are critical to an island state. How would you work to increase federal support for Hawaii’s roads, airports and harbors?
There are many competitive grant programs offered by the federal government that Hawaii would be very competitive for. I stand ready to assist in any way in not only locating possible grant funding, but in the application process as well. There are federal resources available for many different kinds of projects and I intend to be a forceful and proactive advocate on behalf of the people of Hawaii.
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Charles K. Djou is an adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University. He is an Afghanistan war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Djou served in the U.S. House, Honolulu City Council and Hawaii State House.