John Willoughby: Why People Should Vote Support Me in Hawaii Congressional Race

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BY JOHN WILLOUGHBY – I’ve been asked a recurring question over the past few months: “Why should Hawaii families vote for you?”

I’m glad some Hawaii voters have asked… I’m surprised more people (including those in the media who have largely overlooked the district two race) haven’t. The mid-term election is just four days from today, so I’m not going to waste time mincing words.


It’s been over a year since I announced that I would be running for U.S. Congress. Initially, I ran into stiff opposition from the Hawaii Republican Party, but I stayed true to my convictions and decided to run despite their reticence.

I seriously believed at the time (and still do), that Hawaii district two voters should have a choice. They should have an opportunity to hear a variety of opinions and ideas about substantive issues and proposed solutions to the problems facing Hawaii families. I was hoping to have many opportunities to debate the incumbent Mazie Hirono with hopes of highlighting the differences between us. Unfortunately, she has refused.

Naturally, Mrs. Hirono and I both feel we have the unique qualities required to serve the families of Hawaii. But when placed side-by-side, one can see that the differences between us could not be clearer and the qualifications and experience I can offer Hawaii voters are far superior.

We are being told that we can expect wide-scale changes in Congress after the November election. As many as 100 Congressional seats may change hands leaving a large number of Committee vacancies to be filled. We know that House Committee memberships are assigned based on a newly elected Representative’s background and experience.

As a 26-year retired military officer (having served in combat, intelligence gathering, and serving many years in overseas duty assignments, etc.), I would line up for membership in the vitally important House Armed Services, House Foreign Relations, and House Veterans Affairs Committees. Possessing an active Top Secret SCI Security Clearance, I would also be considered for immediate membership in the House Intelligence Committee.

As a Commercial Airline Pilot for the past 12 years, I would also line up for membership in the crucial House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where I will join Congressman Charles Djou in moving forward legislation seeking an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act. (An exemption would lower the price of virtually every good and service sold in Hawaii up to 22%, and would make our local products more marketable on the mainland and around the world.)

More importantly, my experience in high-stress, fast-moving positions that require keen judgment and high levels of responsibility and decision making are well-known and have been consistently recognized. I have no qualms about comparing the levels of responsibility Mrs. Hirono and I have experienced and have to offer Hawaii voters.

Whether in command of an aircraft with 20 Navy crewmembers in combat, or a commercial airliner with 360 passengers and crew flying into Chicago during a blinding snowstorm, I can’t afford to take my responsibilities lightly – Ever. I can’t simply hide out and I can’t just wait for conditions to improve. In my business, I am literally responsible for the safety and wellbeing of thousands of families and business people every month. The number of safe landings must equal the number of takeoffs, and the number of men, women, and children who walk safely off the plane at the end of the flight must equal the number that board – every single flight. Every day of my life, my mantra must be, “failure is not an option.” I will take that same level of intensity, responsibility, and accountability with me to Washington on Hawaii’s behalf.

By contrast, Mrs. Hirono’s Party will become the minority in Congress and her support for high-tax, high-spending social justice policies will become a thing of the past.

Quite frankly, Mrs. Hirono is not in the same league. The reality is that her name recognition was barely enough to garner 21.8% percent of the vote in a ten-way runoff back in 2006. Sadly, it was enough to earn her the seat in Congress. Her current membership notwithstanding, she has been unable to gain a common frame of reference, and that is why her claim that she is the only candidate in this race with the experience to be a U.S. Congressman would not stand up to close scrutiny.

Specifically, there are several reasons why you should vote for me. First, my ideas on how to approach the morass our economy is facing are much more substantive. I will move forward on plans (described on my website) to reduce the tax burden on Hawaii families and small businesses, while Mrs. Hirono wants to continue with plans to saddle Hawaii families with the largest tax increases in Hawaii and U.S. History this January.

I will fight to stop the government’s incessant and reckless deficit spending that jeopardizes our children and grandchildren’s future, while Mrs. Hirono wants to continue borrowing money from China to finance her costly, wasteful, deficit bailout schemes.

And I will support legislation to help our Hawaii small businesses create permanent, well-paying jobs for our high number of unemployed and underemployed workers, while Mrs. Hirono wants to make our families more and more dependent on government handouts.

Secondly, I have already established life-long relationships with current members of the U.S. Senate such as Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Mike Enzy, John Ensign, Saxby Chambliss, and Orrin Hatch. And in the House of Representatives, with even prominent Democrats such as House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer, Representatives Ike Skelton, and Sam Farr, and Republicans James Gerlach and Bill Shuster. Simply put, I know how Washington works. It won’t take me 2 or 4 or 6 years to figure things out as it has Mrs. Hirono. Nor will I be reluctant to fight against bureaucrats and politicians who make policies that aren’t in the best interest of Hawaii families.

Conversely, Mrs. Hirono has been nothing more than a “rubber stamp” for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Instead of doing what Hawaii families elected her to do, she does what they order her to do – over 98% of the time.

Thirdly, I am not a career politician and I have no further career aspirations. I will serve no more than two terms. That will allow me to spend every minute in Congress working for Hawaii families instead of trying to get re-elected, or spending your valuable time courting special interests and lobbyists to curry their favor and raise campaign contributions.

And I firmly believe that a member of Congress should not profit from their public service nor leave Washington better off financially than when they arrived. Not only will I not accept healthcare benefits superior to those I already receive in my current employment (Kaiser) or that I can purchase as a retired military member (TRICARE for Life), I will donate every single penny more than I would have received from my current job (which is about half of a current Congressman’s salary) to Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu. That is a promise.

Finally, Mrs. Hirono and I also differ on Christian values. I am the only candidate who is Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-traditional marriage, and the only candidate to stand beside Hawaii families in opposition to HB444.

I also stand beside the Chiefs of all the Armed Forces and an overwhelming number of our military in uniform who oppose lifting the military’s long standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I also oppose overturning 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 or civil unions performed in States on the mainland. Most importantly, I am not afraid to allow God back into our schools and communities.

I hope this has given you some idea why you should vote for me over Mrs. Hirono. But the bottom line is that, unlike Mrs. Hirono who considers her office a “lifetime appointment,” I place a great deal of respect in your vote – I’m here to earn it.



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John Willoughby, a distinguished airline pilot and highly-decorated retired Navy Officer is challenging incumbent Progressive Democrat Mazie Hirono for the 2nd Congressional District seat in the 2010 General Election. John is a proponent of lower taxes, smaller government, and putting an end to an era of reckless government deficit spending. John is not a career politician, but rather a citizen seeking public office. He believes Hawaii families are ready for a Representative who is driven by what is right, guided by the Constitution, committed to unconditional Congressional accountability, and loyal to the People of Hawaii. John was born on September 23, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother Verna was a former “Navy Wave,” homemaker and mother of six. His father Bud was a Korean War era Marine. They met and were married while both were stationed in Hawaii in the early 1950’s. They returned to Missouri where Bud worked his way through the ranks of the Kansas City Police Department. He then served as Chief of Police of the Pueblo, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah Police Departments, and was heavily involved in national law enforcement until his passing in 2004. John’s parents stressed public service, personal and financial responsibility, and accountability. After spending his elementary and junior high school years in Kansas City, John’s family moved to Colorado where he graduated from Pueblo East High School in 1976. John then enlisted in the Navy. Upon completion of his initial training, he was designated a Navy Aircrewman on the P-3 Orion and assigned to Patrol Squadron Nineteen at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California. His squadron deployed at the height of the Cold War to Okinawa, Northern Japan, and twice to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. When he completed his four-year enlistment, John returned to Salt Lake City where he worked his way through college graduating in 1985 from the University of Utah with a Bachelors Degree in Organization Communications. He also participated in a study abroad program at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. At the University of Utah, John affiliated with Sigma Chi Fraternity and became a lifetime member of the University of Utah Alumni Association and a “Life Loyal Sig.” Upon graduating college, John was recruited by a national grocery store chain to serve as an Assistant to the Vice-President of Human Resources. It was there he realized his true passion was to continue serving his country in the Armed Forces. He applied and was admitted to Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School where he was honored as a Distinguished Navy Graduate earning a regular commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy. He attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas earning his aircraft carrier landing qualification and “Wings of Gold” in 1988. John was assigned to Patrol Squadron Twenty-Two at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii where he received his Patrol Plane Mission Commander designation. There he deployed to the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan. While stationed in Hawaii, he met and married the former Yong Hui Pak, a Hawaii resident and naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea. Before leaving Hawaii, their first son Joshua was born at Tripler Army Medical Center. John was then assigned as a flight instructor at Fleet Replacement Training Squadron Thirty-One, Moffett Field, California. He later returned to Hawaii where he was assigned to the Fleet Special Projects Patrol Unit Two, a unit assigned by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to covert special operations worldwide. Later John received orders to the U.S. Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan as the Air Operations Officer. During his tour in Japan, his second son Jeremy was born. John left active duty in 1998 and entered the Navy Reserve where he was assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Fifty-One at Kaneohe, Hawaii, then later the NATO Supreme Allied Command--Transformation, and finally Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Upon moving back to Hawaii, John and Yong Hui adopted a twelve-year old South Korean girl named Su Jin. John retired from the Navy Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander in 2006. While in the Navy and Navy Reserve, John qualified as a Plane Commander on six different aircraft. He deployed to and operated in dozens of countries in the south, western, and northern Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North, Central, and South Americas, as well as India, Australia, and Greenland. John was awarded two Air Medals for combat missions in support of United Nations Operations in Somalia for his role in real life battles that became the inspiration for the book and motion picture “Black Hawk Down,” two Navy Commendation Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal and several other medals, decorations, and commendations. He is also a lifetime member of the Association of the United States Navy and American Legion. In 1998 John was employed by United Airlines as a commercial airline pilot based at San Francisco International Airport. During his twelve years at United, John has flown over 7000 hours both domestically and internationally on the DC-10, Boeing 777, 767, and 757, and the Airbus 319 and 320 commercial aircraft. In 2001 John lost several friends and co-workers on United and American Airlines airplanes involved in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and in the attack on the Maritime Patrol section of the Pentagon. United Airlines later sought Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection and John was furloughed from 2004-2005. He rejoined United in 2005 where he has been since. At United, John is a member of the Air Line Pilots Association, an international labor union. After spending six years in Salt Lake City caring for his ill parents, John and Yong Hui moved back to Hawaii in 2006. They and their two sons live in Honolulu where their sons attend public school--Josh at Moanalua High School, and Jeremy at Moanalua Middle School. Their daughter Su Jin is now grown and lives on the Mainland. John and Yong Hui celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in April.


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