During an exclusive interview with Politics Daily (video below), Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) discussed his opposition to the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, arguing that some people use the law to work the system:
"I voted in favor of repealing 'Don't ask, don't tell,' simply based on my experience having served as an officer in the United States Army Reserves. I saw too many examples where . . . individuals would take, say, a large re-enlistment bonus when something is offered to stay in the Army. Then, all of a sudden, when the unit would get mobilized to go fight in Iraq or Afghanistan, that very same individual . . . would all of a sudden declare that they're gay, and get out, and be allowed to keep that enlistment bonus. I don't think that's fair. I don't think it works."
He continued, "I believe 'Don't ask, don't tell' is a failed policy. It is not necessary to the protection of our nation or our national security. And that's why I voted . . . in favor of its repeal."
This issue has been front and center in the political debate this autumn. On Wednesday, an appeals court temporarily halted
a lower court's decision overturning the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military.
Earlier this year, a bill to repeal DADT passed in the House with Djou's support, but was blocked in the Senate last month.
Djou won a special election in May to replace Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor. Djou's victory came when Democrats split their votes between two other candidates. He thus became the first Republican to win a Hawaii congressional race in decades. Djou represents CD1, the district where President Obama grew up.
Staying in Congress won't be easy. Djou must now fend off state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. Recent polls show Djou leading
in the race.
Aside from DADT, Djou also talked with Politics Daily about government spending, saying, "The beauty of our nation does not rest in our government. It doesn't rest in the bureaucracy. The beauty of our nation rests in the American individual, and that's something that's the core of my philosophy."
He also discussed a job fair he organized in Hawaii, as well as his hopes for the TV show "Hawaii Five-0."