Michael Gillespie, a retired business owner, sees running for the U.S. Senate as his civic duty.
Gillespie, 54, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the seat long-time Sen. Daniel Akaka is retiring from this year.
He cited 16th century philosopher Thomas More as an inspiration.
“Any person who tries to be a professional politician, they should be barred,” Gillespie said, quoting More.
The United States entered two wars for which it didn’t have proper authorization and is spending an unknown amount of money on, Gillespie said, adding that the economy is the biggest issue facing the state this year.
Educational opportunities tie into the economic issues, he said.
“We’re having a huge brain drain,” he said. “There are no jobs. Our public schools are falling apart.”
He’s a proponent of a visa waiver program for China, which would boost tourism. He’d also like to make it easier for citizens of other Asian countries to get visas.
“It’s almost impossible to get a visa out of southeast Asia,” he said.
Hawaii is the center of the Pacific Rim, but the state runs the risk of fading into obscurity, he added.
Gillespie cited several areas of the federal defense budget that could be cut.
For one, he noted the F-22 jet, which he said costs a fortune, has never flown in a single battle and has design defects that make employing it in battle difficult, if not impossible.
“It’s so expensive, they’re afraid it will be shot down,” he said.
Another plane, the F-35, only has a 600-mile range, which isn’t long enough to protect the aircraft carriers it is supposed to guard, he said.
“That’s a classic example,” of excessive military spending, he said. “A bill was introduced to try and kill (the F-35). A congressman entered enough votes to kill the bill because his state had the contract to make the jet engines.”
Those engines weren’t even designed for supersonic flight, Gillespie said.
Gillespie said one of his goals, if elected, is a comprehensive look at Social Security, and removal of employees within the program that do not do their jobs.
He cited a personal experience in which he had more than a dozen physicians attesting to his injuries and his inability to get Social Security employees even to review, let alone approve, his request for disability compensation.
Similarly, he would like to review the Internal Revenue Service and its employees, who, in Gillespie’s experience, do not know the nation’s tax code.
“If you don’t do your job, you don’t get your paycheck,” Gillespie said.
He advocates ending or significantly modifying the Jones Act, which requires any ship operating between domestic U.S. ports be American-owned, flagged and crewed.
Bipartisanship “is the only way we can work,” he added, when asked whether he would be willing to vote across party lines, if elected.
The lack of bipartisanship is hurting the country, he said.
“We are becoming quickly a third world country,” Gillespie said. “Our telephone system is from the 1940s and 1950s, our Internet speed is 39th in the world.
“We’re not moving ahead because people want to argue because they don’t like the president.”