Charles’ priority at every level of his life and career is to take care of people. He first ran for office because after reaching out to many government agencies about a troublesome intersection he received no response. He ran for office, and was able to put in a four way stop that reduced traffic accidents. From his family, to his city, state and country, Charles believes that the beauty of our community doesn’t come from a regulation or law, and especially doesn’t come from a government building. It comes from the spirit of our people.

Charles served his city in the Honolulu City Council from 2003 to 2010 where he is proud to have worked on many things, including Honolulu’s first city-wide recycling program and fighting to strengthen the ethics commission. He also served his state in Hawai’i’s First Congressional District from 2010 to 2011 and the Hawaii State House of Representatives, where he was Minority Floor Leader. In addition to running for mayor, he serves his country as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and is a combat veteran who served with the U.S. Army in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan during the “surge” of coalition forces in 2011-2012.

A child of immigrants, Charles’ parents emigrated from China and Thailand.  Charles grew up in Hawai’i and graduated from Punahou School.  He attended the University of Pennsylvania earning degrees in Political Science and Economics from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce and received his juris doctor from the University of Southern California Law School.  Charles has taught at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law, the University of Hawaii West Oahu, and Hawaii Pacific University.

Charles is married to Stacey Kawasaki Djou. Born and raised in Hawaii, Stacey graduated from Kalani High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  An attorney, Stacey earned her law degree from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. Together they raise their three children on Oahu.

Charles’ Name

People often ask from where Charles’ last name, Djou, comes. Charles’ father was born in Shanghai, China, and raised in Hong Kong. His mother was raised in Bangkok, Thailand. Charles was raised here in Hawaii. Yet, he has this odd, French-sounding, last name.It started in the 1920’s. Charles’ grandfather worked for a French engineering firm in Shanghai. His grandfather’s French boss, who spoke only French and Chinese, gave him the French name “Dijou” which roughly sounds like Charles’ family’s Chinese name, “Zhou.” In 1948, during the communist revolution in China, Charles’ grandfather fled to Hong Kong, which was then a British colony. Upon his arrival, the British asked Charles’ grandfather to fill out immigration papers. Rather than write down his Chinese character, Charles’ grandfather wrote down “Djou” – not knowing that this was actually French or that it was misspelled. Charles’ father took this name to the United States, Charles was born with it and now you have a local Chinese guy with a French sounding last name.

Resume

PUBLIC SERVICE

U.S. Representative, 2010-2011
City Councilmember, 2003-2010
State Representative, 2000-2002
– House Minority Floor Leader, 2001-2002
– Assistant House Minority Whip, 2000-2001
Small Business Hawaii “Legislator of the Year,” 2001, 2003, and 2005

MILITARY SERVICE

US Army Reserve, 2001-Present
Afghan (OEF) Combat Veteran, 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), 2011-2012
Selected Military Decorations: Combat Action Badge; Army Commendation Medal

PROFESSION

Attorney, specializing in business law
Adjunct Professor, UH West Oahu, Univ. of Hawaii Law School and HPU

EDUCATION

USC Law School, JD
Univ. of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, BS & BA
Punahou School