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Handyman hopes to go from homeless to Congress

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Kawika Crowley Kawika Crowley
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A lot of politicians like to tout their work for the homeless but now Hawaii has the first ever major political party candidate for Congress who is actually homeless.

"My head goes here, my legs go there and it's doable. My drawers for my clothes are all stacked up in there," said Kawika Crowley, who showed us around his 1995 Plymouth Voyager with 133,000 miles.

That van is his transportation, campaign headquarters and home, but it's breaking down so he's saving his rent money now to buy a new van later.

"When you're homeless it's not cologne anymore it's back to Aqua Velva," laughed Crowley.

He is a handyman and painter and makes about $15,000 a year.  He's not on welfare but says he did collect government assistance for a few years in the 80's when he was raising his three kids as a single parent.

"I'm not shame. We all go through hard times. I'm biting the bullet now, you're biting the bullet, we all bite bullets. It's just part of life," said Crowley, (R) Congressional Candidate District 2, who received nearly 10,000 votes to win the Republican primary with 45 percent of the vote.

He says if politicians lived as simply as him there wouldn't be greed or corruption and they certainly would be able to pass a budget.

"What we need now in Washington is not experience. What we need now is common sense," said Crowley.

He always has a cigar and for the past six years he's been a lobbyist fighting for smokers and bar owners trying to get the smoking ban snuffed.

"My main passion is this. The American people are sick and tired of big fat ass government getting into every single part of our affairs, our personal affairs, our business affairs. The federal government has no business telling a bar owner that he cannot allow smoking in his bar," said Crowley.  "You want to vote for somebody who is not bought and paid for by anybody, I'm your conservative alternative to big fat ass government. That's it. Simple." 

He's against the rail and for the defense of marriage.

"Hey I don't care if you're in love with a frog. That don't bother me nothing. You want to sleep with another man fine. You want to kiss a man and you're a man, I couldn't give a rip. But don't redefine the word marriage. Leave the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman," said Crowley.

It does beg the question if he is the best candidate Republicans could have found?

"I think in any case many people can say any candidate would be better than the person we put up but where the chips fell Kawika is the one who won and worked the hardest to win that seat," said David Chang, Hawaii Republican Party Chair. "We accept people from all walks of life and encourage them to go for their dream of running for office."

Crowley is also known as the "9/11 Guy" waving his flag every September 11th.  He's spent years giving drivers on Kamehameha Highway the thumbs up.  Now he's hoping voters give it back on election night.

"About 6 months ago had this lady, she was running from congress her name was, what was her name, Oh Tulsi Gabbard. And look what happened. She was a nobody and look what she pulled off. Now I'm the David of the Goliath, but she's not a Goliath, she's a gorgeous Goliath you know what I mean, she's the one with the money, I'm the one with the determination," said Crowley.

Tulsi Gabbard was the underdog in the Democrats primary but beat former Honolulu Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann in a landslide.

Crowley pulled off his own upset to beat fellow Republican Matt DeGeronimo who was a valedictorian, has a nuclear engineering degree and is an Iraq War veteran.  Crowley, raised in Japan then Hilo, didn't learn the American alphabet until 8th grade.

For more information about Kawika Crowley click here.

For more information about Tulsi Gabbard click here.

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