What is your budget philosophy? I favor a balanced federal budget and would advocate and actively seek a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Should government spending be reduced or increased? Government spending should be drastically reduced – initially to support a balanced budget. We should then seek, as a target, an additional 20% across the board budget cut.
If reduced, where would you cut spending? I would call for an “across the board” cut in government spending. I would approach the budget morass on a government-wide basis, using the same approach as the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission used to downsize the Department of Defense in the 1990’s. All Departments and Agencies would be required to submit cuts to achieve a target level. Where and what they cut would be up to them. Congress would then vote on the package as “all or none” until the desired levels are reached.
Where would you support more government spending? Veterans Affairs. With the conclusion of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are going to need to prepare for a mass influx of service members with mental disorders and physical disabilities, the need for advanced education (for both service members and their dependents), job training, and societal re-acclimation. If we make the investment now, it will alleviate the problems we now face with Vietnam era veterans.
Earmarks: Hawaii has more federal government allocations per capita than almost any other state. Do you believe this practice should continue or should government spending be reigned in? I oppose earmark spending. I will follow the example of House Minority Leader John Boehner and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) who have pledged not to seek or vote in favor of any earmark spending packages.
Taxes: Do you support any tax hikes and if so on who? I oppose any further tax increases on any American citizens, businesses, or corporations.
If not, would you sign a pledge to vote against all tax hikes? I will be happy to sign a pledge not to raise ANY taxes. I also advocate allowing the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (Bush Tax Cuts) to be extended indefinitely.
Rail: Do you support the $5.5 billion Honolulu rail project? No. It is too expensive, must be heavily subsidized to operate, and will not achieve a measurable reduction in traffic congestion.
Economic Growth: What are your plans to promote long-term economic growth for Hawaii and the nation? We need to reduce the tax burden on Hawaii families and small businesses, stop the incessant and reckless government spending in Washington (and Honolulu), and create jobs for Hawaii’s unemployed and high number of under-employed workers. My first two orders of business will be to submit tax reform legislation that will add an average of $4,700 to the take home pay of 40% of Hawaii families each year, and to seek an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act. An exemption for Hawaii will reduce the cost of virtually every good and service sold in Hawaii up to 22%. This will give Hawaii’s small businesses that which they need most – customers with more money in their pocketbooks to buy the goods and services small businesses provide.
Public Education: What are your plans to support the public education system while ensuring accountability and results for our students? First, we need to improve our education infrastructure. We must divert stimulus funds away from costly and wasteful programs designed to compensate lobbyists, special interests, and wealthy political campaign contributors and back toward projects that improve our schools and classrooms. Secondly, we must create partnerships with civic groups, businesses, and private enterprise such as commercial airlines and travel companies that can provide resources to our educators. For example, when we lost the Hawaii SuperFerry, we lost a very valuable educational tool – the ability to transport entire classrooms of school-aged kids throughout the greatest natural classroom in the world – the Hawaiian Islands. Before I even take office, I will begin forging relationships with all major airlines that do business in Hawaii in order to persuade them to provide inter-island travel opportunities for our school kids, their teachers, and chaperones.
Akaka Bill: What is your position on the Akaka Bill? I oppose the Akaka Bill in its current form.
Do you believe it will unite or divide Hawaii? The Akaka Bill has been and will continue to be divisive to the peoples of Hawaii. As Americans, we live by a simple mantra – equality of opportunity for all, special privileges for none. Establishing a separate “government within a government” goes against everything our great nation stands for and would test the very fabric of our Constitution and society.
How do you see the Akaka Bill changing Hawaii? In its current form, it would create a system where even family members could fall into different classes. These classes of peoples will be separated from each other by different systems of rules and laws, different privileges and opportunities, and a different system of rights and responsibilities.
Jones Act: Do you support the Jones Act? No.
Do you believe a Jones Act exemption for Hawaii would help Hawaii? Why or why not? An exemption for Hawaii would be the single greatest positive and beneficial force on Hawaii’s economy. It will reduce the cost of virtually every good and service sold in Hawaii up to 22%, relieving the artificial economic burden on Hawaii families, farms and ranches, and every business – whether local, national, or global – doing business in Hawaii. It would bring our economies of scale in line with those on the mainland, make goods grown or produced in Hawaii more marketable on the mainland and around the world, and create a more business-friendly environment for start-ups and companies wishing to move to Hawaii. It would also result in an increase in tax revenues to state and local governments. Most importantly, it will facilitate economic recovery by giving Hawaii’s small businesses that which they need most – customers with more money in their pocketbooks to buy the goods and services small businesses provide.
Compact with Micronesia: Micronesians are able to freely move to Hawaii, which they are doing in large numbers to take advantage of the public education system, medical services and other government benefits. But the governor and other public officials say they are taxing Hawaii’s resources and costing the state more than $100 million a year. Should the Compact with Micronesia remain in place, should there be some parameters put on the Compact or do you have other solutions? The Compact of Association is an outdated, unfavorable, and unnecessary policy. Once again, the federal government made agreements with foreign governing bodies and failed to consider mitigating factors and negative consequences to State governments. It is now failing to live up to its obligations. As in every other ill conceived, under-funded mandate the government has legislated, Hawaii is now left holding the bag. The federal government should abandon this Compact and take steps to satisfactorily repatriate these people and as soon as possible.
Legalized Gambling: Do you believe gambling should be legalized in Hawaii in any form and if so, in what form? I oppose any form of gambling in Hawaii. The ability for the State to generate revenue does not outweigh the potential for criminal activities and negative sociological consequences.
Energy: What are your solutions to America’s energy needs? We need to continue to pursue an “all of the above” energy policy, to include utilization of solar, wind, bio-fuels, wave, and geothermal generated energy where they are appropriate and won’t lead to a negative impact on our economy. We must also recognize that the ability to pursue renewable energy sources is attractive only as long as expensive federal subsidies are available. As much as we wish to embrace renewable energy sources, we must realize that our tolerance for fossil fuels is directly proportional to how much we can afford to pay for the alternative.
Expansion of off shore or on shore drilling? I favor an expansion of offshore exploration and drilling and onshore drilling for one reason and one reason only – to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
Cap and Trade? I oppose Cap and Trade in the strongest possible terms. It is a government sponsored “Ponzi Scheme” and is waterfall taxation at it’s worst. It will destroy our economy and way of life.
Alternative energy and if so, in what form? I support any form of alternative energy source that can be pursued by private enterprise and does not rely on expensive government subsidies or rely disproportionally on other natural or manmade resources to produce.
Endorsements you would like to list: Hawaii Right to Life; Maui Tea Party; and Kona Tea Party.
Any additional comments:
I am the only pro-Life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-family values candidate from either Party in the District Two Congressional race. I’m the only candidate to support Governor Linda Lingle in her veto of Hawaii House Bill 444, which would have defied the people of Hawaii in recognizing civil unions. I also support the Defense of Marriage Act, which properly defines marriage as between one man and one woman and does not force us here in Hawaii to recognize same-sex marriages performed on the Mainland. I also advocate allowing God and Prayer back into our schools and communities.
As the only candidate with military and combat experience, I am opposed to and understand the significance and negative impact of repealing the military’s long-standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which would allow Gay and Lesbians to serve openly. I am the only candidate to stand beside the Chiefs of every Armed Force and over 90% of our active duty service members in opposition to repealing this policy.
Finally, there has been a great deal of talk lately with regards to politicians and Congressional Representatives (such as New York’s Charlie Rangel and California’s Maxine Waters) profiting from their service in Washington. Many of our current Representatives receive additional pay, benefits, and State/Local government pensions resulting from their previous elected service. It’s legal, but that doesn’t make it right. Especially when so many of our American and Hawaii families are hurting. I feel very strongly that a Representative should not accept supplemental retirement or other privately negotiated compensation, nor should they serve in or leave their elected Congressional Office in Washington better off financially than when they were first elected.
If elected, I will not accept a Congressional Health Care Plan that is better than that which I now receive with my current employer, United Airlines (Kaiser), or that I can purchase as a military veteran (Tricare for Life), or that is better than Hawaii families have available to them.
Secondly, I will not accept any amount of pay and compensation that is greater than I receive now with my current employer or would have made that year if I were still employed as a pilot for UAL. If elected to Congress, I will donate EVERY PENNY more than I would have made that year to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a challenge to other candidates, but rather my promise to the people of Hawaii as their Representative.
John W. Willoughby, U.S. Congress, Hawaii 2nd Congressional District; Phone: 808-372-4138; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org