U.S. Representative candidate John Willoughby answers your questions

Samson Kaala Reiny

KANEOHE—Republican candidate John Willoughby is running for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the General Election on November 2.

Willoughby has been a military officer for over 26 years and a commercial airline pilot for 11 years.

The Hawaii Independent presented reader-submitted questions to each General Election candidate. Responses will be published in the order in which they are received.

Here are his responses.

Who is your largest campaign contributor?
A real nice lady named Chandi Duke Heffner of Kona. (I haven’t received any corporate, special interest, or foreign contributions, and I refused contributions from my own labor union.)

Where do you stand on civil unions?
I oppose civil unions and I oppose repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and doesn’t force us in Hawaii to recognize same sex marriages performed on the “mainland”).

Would you have voted for House Bill 444?
That is a State issue, but I stand beside an overwhelming majority of Hawaii residents in opposition to House Bill 444.

With regards to the Gay and Lesbian questions, I can offer qualified observations. I am an airline pilot. Approximately 80 percent of the male flight attendants that work for my airline are gay. I work closely with these individuals and acknowledge that they are eminently qualified and competent to do their jobs. Often times, I get together with these individuals after work for an adult beverage and conversation. Afterwards, they go their way and I go mine.

My opinion is my own. I recognize the right of any individual to do what they choose in the privacy of their own home or place of social interaction (as long as it doesn’t break the law or harm another person or animal). I simply have a fundamental disagreement that civil unions or same-sex marriage is a civil right. I don’t feel we need to change the entire fabric of society to cater to an advocacy group.

Do you think that the debate over gay marriage contributes to gay bashing in our schools?
No more, or no less. If it does, I hold the advocacy groups responsible for using our school children as acceptable collateral damage in order to advance their agenda.

How, as an elected official, will you support and enforce the existing State laws that protect and nurture the rights of Native Hawaiians?
Once again, a state issue, but I support all initiatives that protect and nurture the rights of all Hawaii residents.

What kind of tax relief do you support and how else do we lower the cost of living for full time residents?
I will submit tax reform legislation that will add an average of $4,700 to the take home pay of 40 percent of Hawaii families. This will be achieved by proposing that all amounts paid for rent on primary housing are classified as tax deductible. I will also seek to repeal the provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that classifies employer provided health care benefits as taxable income. Finally, I support an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts indefinitely, repeal of the death tax, and lowering the capital gains tax. With regards to lowering the cost of living, I will seek an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act. An exemption will lower the cost of virtually every good and service in Hawaii up to 22 percent and will make our Hawaii products more marketable on the mainland and around the world. 

How do you limit bureaucracy in government and manage civil work for efficiency?
Empower citizens to expose fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption in taxpayer funded government departments, agencies, and programs.

What ideas do you have for improving our education system?
Seek help from faith-based groups and civic organizations as well as private enterprise to “sponsor” local schools.

Do you support a governor-appointed Board of Education?

What’s going to be your input in addressing Hawaii’s “homeless” crisis?
If we are going to be serious about ending “homelessness,” we have to stop allowing “homelessness” to be a choice. There are many alternatives to being “homeless” that require disciplined participation of the individuals. In many cases, “homeless” people simply “opt out” (by refusing to follow the rules of participation). We must empower faith-based groups, civic organizations, and private enterprise to find solutions the government has not been able to provide. It is a fact that only 30 cents of every taxpayer dollar reaches the people it was designed to help. Conversely, 90 cents of every dollar used by faith-based groups reaches target groups.

How would you improve accountability in government?
That’s up to the media. Investigative reporting is virtually non-existent in Hawaii. Media is clearly not doing its job.

What is your opinion on Hawaii’s current approach to renewable energy?
Renewable energy sources are attractive only as far as taxpayer subsidies are provided to encourage participation. Our approach should be, “produce it here, use it here, market it here.”

Do you support legislation that would establish clear definitions and penalties for human trafficking in Hawaii?

Are you aware of concerns Hawaii residents have with the lack of enforcement of child support laws, and do you see a way you could address it if elected?
State issue, but yes. The court system will not enforce the laws or hold individuals not in compliance accountable. Either enforce the laws or change them.

In balancing the State budget, what specific government programs or services would you cut?
State issue, but every taxpayer-funded program should be audited and disciplined cuts made where appropriate.

For more information, visit http://www.willoughbyforcongress.com/Home.aspx.

Read John Willoughby’s conversation with The Hawaii Independent’s Steve Jackson in the column “John Willoughby: ‘I will never betray my personal values or principles for political favor’” here.