[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/30/art.djouhand0630.gi.jpg caption="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.