June 30th, 2010
04:24 PM ET
4 years ago

Hawaii Republican makes iPad history

Rep. Charles Djou was sworn in, in late May.  The Republican lawmaker says that he bought an iPad in order to help get up to speed quickly as a new member of Congress.
Rep. Charles Djou was sworn in, in late May. The Republican lawmaker says that he bought an iPad in order to help get up to speed quickly as a new member of Congress.

Washington (CNN) – Recently elected Republican Rep. Charles Djou made history Wednesday.

"The House Parliamentarian told me that I'm the first Member of Congress to ever use an iPad during a floor speech," Djou tweeted around noon Eastern time.

In late May, Djou won a special election to fill the seat in Hawaii's First Congressional District once held by Democrat Neil Abercrombie.

In a phone interview with CNN, Djou said his long commute home to Hawaii and the fact that he is new to Congress led him to purchase an iPad.

"I never touched the device until a month ago when I became a member of Congress," the Republican said.

Djou explained that the new tablet device allows him to make the most of his 12-hour, one-way commute to Hawaii.

"I'm a new member with a lot to get up to speed on," he said. Djou added that the number of briefing books and policy papers lawmakers typically have to read can be demanding and, in his situation, even more so because he is in the process of mastering material that his colleagues have had months or even years to become acquainted with. "It's a lot and it's a lot to carry around," he explained.

But with the iPad, his 12-hour commute home becomes "a great opportunity to be productive," the Republican said.

While he was making history Wednesday, Djou may have also been violating House rules. Despite the fact that he says he sees other members carrying their tablet devices on the floor, Djou said House rules prohibit laptops but allow BlackBerrys and other PDA's.

"As usual, you see technology and commerce moves much faster than government," he said of the iPad's ambiguous status under the rules. Djou added that he would be in favor of the rules explicitly permitting the iPad and other tablet devices.

He added, "Let's hope the U.S. Congress can catch up with the 21st century."

Contacted by CNN, a staff member for the House Administration Committee said that House rules allow use of handheld devices for texting, e-mailing and other forms of non-verbal communication.

And Wednesday's history making speech? It was about ways to cut federal spending. Djou was coming from a meeting and did not have time to get the notes his staff had prepared for him in hard copy form. So a staff member emailed the speech notes to him and he accessed them on his iPad while on the floor.


Filed under: Charles Djou • House • Popular Posts
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. John

    That's pretty cool, good to see how useful an Ipad can be sometimes.

    June 30, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    But with the iPad, his 12-hour commute home becomes "a great opportunity to be productive," the Republican said.
    _____________________________________________

    How novel . . . a productive Republican. Hear that, Boehner? Djou actually takes his job seriously.

    June 30, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Enjoy what little time you have left due to the Hawaii Dem's not having their act together and being so stupid to have 2 candidates from the same party on the ballot.

    June 30, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Republicans is smart in the head area

    And you'll have a nice souvenir when you lose your seat in November.

    June 30, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Fed Up!

    It would have been better if he made history with a useful piece of legislation.

    Is that too much to ask of any member of the GOP?

    June 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Djou's bio doesn't indicate his religion as so many others do. What's up with that?

    June 30, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    It's too bad that even if he does a good job, the stupid Hawaiians he represents will undoubtedly elect an even stupider democrat next election.

    June 30, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Tommy

    It's amazing to see the haters come out on a topic that wasn't political at all. I bet that NONE of you know anything about him other than his party affiliation.

    June 30, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. stop-confusion

    I'm not in his class of "business", but I use a portable computer while flying (couch). iPods are fun, but for serious hours of reading and typing?

    June 30, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. GuyinVA

    Ah, the iPad. Ushering in the era of Americans buying expensive gadgets just to find out what they are.

    June 30, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "That's the problem Mr. Bennett your party is just like the Democrats with the liberals. They're to focused on pushing a Conservative agenda and along the way weed out those who are moderate or have a centrists idea"

    I know people think this soundbite is a good one: "oh, they're no different...BOTH parties are purists and extreme to their side of the spectrum," but the reality is that the facts just don't support it. While it's true about the GOP, we just watched a year and a half of the Dems having to fight amongst themselves because the party is diverse...with Blue Dogs representing far more conservative views than some of the moderates and progressives. This is why the GOPers/conservatives got to have fun saying "but you control Congress with a supermajority...it's not our fault you can't get anything done"...as if their obstructionist nonsense played no role. The Dems have historically had a problem with getting everyone to goose-step like the GOPers do, but it's a sacrifice of convenience made in recognition of the value of diversity of views.

    Don't get me wrong...I'm not a Dem and will never declare a party...I have a backbone and I'd probably get thrown out of congress for giving one of these elderly demogogue GOPers a beatdown for mouthing off like they do if I ever held a seat. Still, facts and evidence matter, and that's what they show about the Dems...diversity of views...not this "conventional wisdom" people are selling that says the parties are both extremists and purists. The GOP WANTS you to think that if they can't get you to think that the Dems are the only extremists...it's their Plan B...put 2 and 2 together and you'll understand why.

    June 30, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Charles

    Who is the first Congressperson to use a laptop on the house floor? A projector? A wristwatch? How does using a technical product 'make history'? Please rename this report to 'Hawaii Republican claims he made iPad history'. The only history he has made is getting CNN to accept his notion that he made history.

    June 30, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Bob of Lompoc

    He'll be out of office after November 2010, when they have a real election in Hawaii. He is just a temp.

    June 30, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Bill Richardson

    I think it was actually quite cool that during a speech related to cutting costs, he was able to have his staff email him notes directly to the podium... a rather efficient way to do things. And as we all know.. time is money. Unfortunately, I'm sure he was talking to an empty chamber.. but still...

    June 30, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. stevegee

    They took over the auto industry, then healthcare, now financial services, energy is next, and then You.

    Wake up people! Obama and the Democrats are "changing" our country into a socialist nightmare. In November, vote American, vote Republican.

    June 30, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |