|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 2nd district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Mazie Hirono|
|Member of the Honolulu City Council
from the 6th district
January 2, 2011 – August 16, 2012
|Preceded by||Rod Tam|
|Succeeded by||Carol Fukunaga|
|Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 42nd district
|Preceded by||Mark Moses|
|Succeeded by||Rida Cabanilla|
April 12, 1981 |
Leloaloa, American Samoa, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Eduardo Tamayo (m. 2002; div. 2006)
Abraham Williams (m. 2015)
|Alma mater||Hawaii Pacific University (BS)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||2004–present|
|Awards|| Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Achievement Medal with Oak leaf cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal
Combat Medical Badge
German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency in Gold
Tulsi Gabbard (/ /, born April 12, 1981) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who has been the United States Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Elected in 2012, she is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress. She served in a combat zone in Iraq. Gabbard (then known as Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo) served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004, becoming at age 21 the youngest woman to be elected to a state legislature at the time.
Gabbard supports abortion rights, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has called for a restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act, and has been in favor of same-sex marriage since 2012. She opposes US-led regime-change wars like those in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and has opposed removal of Bashar al-Assad from power, arguing that US regime-change intervention in Syria's civil war is a source of the Syrian refugee crisis.
Tulsi Gabbard was born on April 12, 1981, in Leloaloa, American Samoa, the fourth of five children. Her father, Mike Gabbard, was born in Fagatogo, American Samoa, and became a naturalized citizen at age one. Her mother, Carol (Porter) Gabbard, was born in Decatur, Indiana. In 1983, when Gabbard was two years old, her family moved to Hawaii.
Gabbard grew up in a multicultural, multireligious household: her father is of Samoan and European ancestry and an active lector at his Catholic church, but also enjoys practicing mantra meditation, including kirtan. Her mother is of European descent and a practicing Hindu. Tulsi fully embraced Hinduism as a teenager. Her siblings' names are Bhakti, Jai, Narayan, and Vrindavan.
Gabbard was home-schooled through high school except for two years at a girls-only missionary academy in the Philippines. She graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2009.
She returned from a deployment to Iraq in 2006 and worked for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, then volunteered for another deployment to the Middle East in 2009. After returning to Hawaii, she was elected to the Honolulu City Council, where she served from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, she ran for the open 2nd Congressional District seat and won the primary with 55% of the vote in an upset over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. She won the general election with 81% of the vote. In the House of Representatives, Gabbard serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. She is also a military police officer with the Hawaii Army National Guard.
In 2002, after redistricting, Gabbard (as Gabbard Tamayo) ran to represent the 42nd House District of the Hawaii House of Representatives. She won the four-candidate Democratic primary with a plurality of 48% of the vote over Rida Cabanilla (30%), Dolfo Ramos (18%), and Gerald Vidal (4%). Gabbard then defeated Republican Alfonso Jimenez in the general election, 65%–35%.
In 2004, Gabbard filed for reelection, but then volunteered for Army National Guard service in Iraq. Cabanilla, who filed for a rematch, called on the incumbent to resign because she would not be able to represent her district from Iraq. Gabbard thus decided not to campaign for a second term, and Cabanilla won the Democratic primary, 64%–25%.
In 2002, at the age of 21, Gabbard became the youngest legislator ever elected in Hawaii's history and the youngest woman elected to state office in the nation. She represented the Oahu 42nd District, which covers Waipahu, Honouliuli, and Ewa Beach.
She played a key role, along with her Ewa colleagues, in securing funding for infrastructure on the Ewa Plains.
During her tenure Gabbard strongly supported legislation to promote clean energy. She supported legislation to expand tax credits for solar and wind, improve the net energy metering program, establish renewable energy portfolio standards, reduce taxes on the sale of ethanol and biofuels, provide funding for a seawater air conditioning project and make it easier for condo/townhouse owners to get solar.
Regarding the environment, Gabbard supported legislation to better protect air quality, the water supply, endangered species and avian/marine life, fight invasive species, reduce greenhouse gases, promote recycling of food waste & packaging, improve the Deposit Beverage Container Program (bottle law), and reduce illegal dumping.
As a state representative, Gabbard opposed LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and civil unions. But she subsequently opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that "marriage is a bond of love, and it's spiritual and metaphysical in nature. It's a sacred bond, and that is not an area where government should be involved."
After returning home from her second deployment to the Middle East in 2009, Gabbard ran for a seat on the Honolulu City Council. Incumbent City Councilman Rod Tam, of the 6th district, decided to retire in order to run for Mayor of Honolulu. In the ten-candidate nonpartisan open primary in September 2010, Gabbard finished first with 33% of the vote. In the November 2 runoff election, she defeated Sesnita Moepono, 58%–42%, to win the seat.
In her capacity as committee chair, Gabbard took the lead on many issues such as medical waste, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), dengue fever, and creating new economic opportunities through Honolulu's first Sister City Summit. As a councilmember, she introduced a measure to help food truck vendors by loosening parking restrictions.
Gabbard also introduced Bill 54, a measure that authorized city workers to confiscate personal belongings stored on public property. The measure overcame opposition from the ACLU and Occupy Hawai'i, and a potential conflict with Hawaii's constitutional law, Kānāwai Māmalahoe, which protects "those who sleep by the roadside". Bill 54 passed and became City Ordinance 1129.
On April 30, 2011, Gabbard informed her constituents that she was resuming the use of her birth name, Tulsi Gabbard, and that there would be no cost to city taxpayers for reprinting City Council materials containing her name. She resigned from the council on August 16, 2012, to focus on her congressional campaign.
In early 2011, Mazie Hirono, the incumbent Congresswoman in Hawaii's second congressional district, announced that she would run for a U.S. Senate seat. Soon after that, in May 2011, Gabbard announced her candidacy for the House seat. She was endorsed by the Sierra Club, Emily's List, and VoteVets.org. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann was the best-known candidate in the six-way primary, but Gabbard won in a major upset, taking 55% of the vote. Hannemann finished second, with 34%. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser described her win as an "improbable rise from a distant underdog to victory". On August 13, Gabbard announced that she would resign from the City Council to prevent the cost of a separate special election, and she did so on August 16.
As the Democratic nominee, Gabbard traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. There she credited grassroots support as the reason for her come-from-behind win in the primary. Gabbard won the general election on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican Kawika Crowley 81% to 19%.
In December 2012, Gabbard applied to be considered for appointment to the Senate seat vacated by the death of Daniel Inouye, but despite support from prominent mainland Democrats, she was not among the three candidates selected by the Hawaii Democratic party.
Gabbard won reelection to the House on November 4, 2014, defeating Crowley again, 78.7% to 18.6%.
Gabbard was reelected to the House in 2016, defeating her opponent, Angela Kaaihue, by 140,000 votes (81.2%-18.8%).
In her first term, Gabbard introduced the Helping Heroes Fly Act, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. This measure seeks to improve airport security screenings for severely wounded veterans, and was signed into law by the President.
Gabbard introduced a measure to reinstate the Native Hawaiian Education Act to increase student achievement and opportunity among Native Hawaiian children. She added a provision to the FARM bill to help Hawaii’s coffee farmers and protect them from the destructive coffee berry borer pest.
Along with Senator Hirono, Gabbard introduced the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 to award Filipino and Filipino American veterans who fought in World War II the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed in both the Senate and the House in July and November 2016, respectively, and was signed by President Obama on December 15, 2016.
Gabbard, a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, was critical of the decision by DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to hold only six debates during the 2016 Democratic Party primary season, compared with 26 in 2008 and 15 in 2004. Some have argued that the number of debates was intentionally limited in order to bolster Secretary Hillary Clinton's position as the Democratic front-runner, citing Wasserman Schultz's previous position as co-chair of Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign as a conflict of interest and a newly created penalty barring further participation in sanctioned debates for any candidate who participates in an unsanctioned debate as an effort to limit public exposure to other candidates. Gabbard appeared on multiple news outlets to express her dissatisfaction with the number of debates. Following her public criticisms, she claimed she was uninvited from attending the Democratic debate in Las Vegas as a result. In a telephone interview with The New York Times, Gabbard stated, "It's very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them. When I signed up to be vice-chair of the DNC, no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door."
Gabbard resigned as DNC vice-chair on February 28, 2016, in order to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. She was the first female U.S. Representative to endorse Sanders. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Gabbard gave the nominating speech putting his name forward. Furthermore, in July 2016, Gabbard launched a petition to end the Democratic Party's process of appointing superdelegates in the nomination process. She endorsed Keith Ellison for DNC chair in the DNC 2017 chairmanship elections.
In January 2017, Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad during a secret trip to Syria. Gabbard said in a release that the trip was approved by the House Ethics Committee and sponsored by Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (AACCESS-Ohio). The trip has drawn controversy because she "reportedly declined to inform House leadership in advance, met with Bashar al-Assad, toured with officials from a Lebanese political party that actively supports Assad, and received funding from an American organization that counts one of those same officials as its executive director." Her tour sponsors denied allegations that they were tied to the aforementioned Lebanese political party. Gabbard later paid for the trip with her own money. On February 7, 2017, it was reported that she failed to comply with House ethics rules, as she had not filed the required disclosure forms by the deadline, but according to her office she complied with House ethics rules by filing her post-trip financial report by the deadline. Remaining forms and her itinerary were submitted on February 8, 2017.
Gabbard has been accused of violating the Logan Act and House ethics rules, but some, such as Marquette University Law School professor Ryan Scoville, say it would be hard to convict her for violating the Logan Act because of its significant ambiguity. It may also be that her failure to disclose gifts would not count as a violation of House ethics rules if she reimburses the sponsor of the trip, but she could face trouble for receiving funding even then, because House ethics rules hold that all funding for delegations on official business must come from the U.S. Government. Scoville concludes that because she appears to have been driven by genuine concern about U.S. policy and the conditions in Syria rather than self-aggrandizement or other improper motives, she will likely face no more than a letter of reproval or informal objection.
In July 2004, Gabbard asked to deploy with her Hawaii Army National Guard unit, volunteering for a 12-month tour in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with the 29th Support Battalion medical company. She learned that she would not be able to serve with her unit and perform her duties as a legislator, and thus chose not to campaign for a second term in office. Gabbard served at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq. While on a rest-and-relaxation tour in August 2005, she presented Hawaii's condolences to the government of London regarding the 7/7 terrorist attacks.
Upon her return from Iraq in 2006, Gabbard began serving as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in Washington, DC. She was responsible for issues involving veteran affairs, energy and natural resources, judiciary, and homeland security. She served as a surrogate speaker for Akaka on many occasions, and built a grassroots network with the veteran community in Hawaii.
In March 2007, while working for Akaka, Gabbard graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. She was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the Academy's 50-year history. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned again to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaii Army National Guard, this time to serve as the Military Police Platoon Leader.
Gabbard continued to work for Akaka until 2009, when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East.
On October 12, 2015, Captain Gabbard was promoted to major at a ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Akaka administered the oath of office to the new major. She continues to serve as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard.
Gabbard co-founded Healthy Hawaiʻi Coalition, an environmental educational group of which she is vice president and educational programs coordinator. She is a lifetime member of the National Guard Association of the United States and the Military Police Regimental Association.
Gabbard was also a cofounder of the non-profit Stand Up For America, which she and her father co-founded in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. SUFA's site profiled Gabbard and hosted letters from her sent during her deployments overseas. The Stand Up For America site came under criticism in September 2010 for promoting Gabbard's campaign for the Honolulu City Council. Gabbard said the improper addition "was an honest mistake from a volunteer", and the problematic page and link were immediately removed.
In her campaign materials and editorials, Gabbard calls for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, a ban on naked credit default swaps, and forced breakup of the "big banks". She also condemned banks that foreclosed on the homes of deployed troops. She is a co-sponsor of HR381: Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2015, which would revive the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Glass-Steagall Act.
Gabbard strongly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has led protests against it. A member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, she has been highly critical of both the deal itself and the secrecy surrounding its exact text, arguing that it will largely benefit multinational corporations at the expense of American workers while actively contributing to existing threats to the environment, such as global warming and pollution. Gabbard has said, "The TPP agreement will benefit Wall Street banks and multinational corporations on the backs of hard-working Americans, and it will increase existing threats to our environment...If it contains the same noxious provisions we suspected it would, I will do all I can to defeat the TPP when it comes before Congress for a final up-or-down vote."
On February 3, 2016, representatives of TPP nations met in New Zealand to officially sign the trade deal. Gabbard joined Rosa DeLauro, Louise Slaughter and Debbie Dingell, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and representatives from MoveOn and the Sierra Club at a press conference to publicly criticize the TPP. During the press conference, she made an impassioned plea against the agreement, arguing that it benefits large corporations at the expense of working Americans: "The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the very beginning and it shows in the resulting agreement. If this deal is enacted, the American people will be left behind as corporations benefit. From an ISDS (Investor-state dispute settlement) process that allows foreign corporations to overrule our domestic rule of law, to unenforceable labor, environmental, and human rights protections, to no protections against currency manipulation, this deal helps the corporate class while selling out working Americans and their families."
Gabbard supports a strong US-India relationship. She has repeatedly praised Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, describing him as "a person who cares deeply about these issues [defense, renewable energy, bilateral trade, and global environmental concerns] and as a leader whose example and dedication to the people he serves should be an inspiration to elected officials everywhere." She has said that the U.S. decision to deny a visa to Modi over allegations of his involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots, of which he was acquitted by Indian courts, as a "great blunder", on the grounds that it could have undermined the US-India relationship had he used it as an excuse to reject a strong relationship with America. She also criticized the arrest of Indian consular officer Devyani Khobragade on charges of visa fraud and perjury. In 2013, she joined some of her colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in opposing a resolution in the House of Representatives that called for “religious freedom and related human rights to be included in the United States-India Strategic Dialogue and for such issues to be raised directly with federal and state Indian government officials.", saying it would weaken the friendship between India and US, citing the timing of the bill as interfering in India's elections, while emphasizing the need for US to stand for religious freedom.
Gabbard voted in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an international agreement with Iran which imposed restraints on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.
Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, said in late 2012, "I was against the war in Iraq. We never should have gone there in the first place." Gabbard believes that the United States' victory conditions in Iraq were not been clearly defined. In 2014 she voted against renewed U.S. military engagement in Iraq.
In October 2016, she criticized elements within the Pakistani government, saying, "People within the Pakistani government continue to provide tacit and overt support for terrorism. This is not new; this pattern of attacks has been occurring now for the past 15 years, and it must end. That's why I've continued working in Congress to cut back US assistance for Pakistan and increase pressure on Pakistan to stop this violence. In the past, the US government took steps to increase pressure on Pakistan, and it's time to revisit that approach." She expressed "solidarity with India in the face of these attacks" (referring to the 2016 Uri attack).
Gabbard was a notable opponent of a $1.15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and was quoted in The Hill as saying, "Saudi Arabia continues to spend billions of dollars funding the spread of the Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels groups like ISIS, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups around the world. The U.S. must stop arming Saudi Arabia, stop fueling this fire and hold Saudi Arabia accountable for their actions." Later, on CNN, she told Wolf Blitzer, "I think we should ask the reverse question, [which] is what is the United States doing to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for being the number one promoter of radical Islamic extremism, not only in their own country, but around the world, spending hundreds of billions of dollars in funding madrassas and schools and books and media outreach trying to influence people towards this ideology that fuels ISIS, fueling al Qaeda, what to speak of the direct and indirect support that Saudi Arabia and some of these other Gulf states gives directly to the enemy that we are supposed to be fighting and defeating. So, I think it is an important time and question for us, in the United States, to ask: Is Saudi Arabia willing to be our ally? And if they are, then they need to stop this funding, stop this support of Islamic extremists, stop promoting that ideology, and stand with us and focus on defeating our enemy: ISIS".
In 2013 Gabbard opposed the Obama administration's proposed military strikes in Syria, arguing that intervention in Syria would go against America's national security, international credibility, economic interest, and moral center. She later introduced legislation to block U.S. military action against Syria. She has described US involvement in the Syrian Civil War as "our counterproductive regime-change war", and said that it is this "regime-change war that is causing people to flee their country". She was one of three members of Congress to vote against House resolution 121, which condemned the government of Syria and "other parties to the conflict" for war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying that though Assad is a brutal dictator, this resolution "is a War Bill—a thinly veiled attempt to use the rationale of 'humanitarianism' as a justification for overthrowing the Syrian government". She explained that the resolution "urges the administration to create 'additional mechanisms for the protection of civilians', which is coded language for the creation of a so-called no-fly/safe zone." Gabbard has rejected suggestions for the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria, stating that it would cost "billions of dollars, require tens of thousands of ground troops and a massive U.S. air presence, and it won't work", and that such a move would risk confrontation with Russia.
In January 2017, Gabbard made a secret "fact finding" mission to Damascus and met with diverse civil society groups as well as government officials. Upon her return, Gabbard told Jake Tapper of CNN that the Syrian people she met continually asked why America was supporting al Nusra and al Qaeda, that it was not Syria which attacked America on 9-11 but rather it was al Qaeda.
On December 8, 2016, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prevent the U.S. government from sponsoring international terrorist groups through funding and the provision of armaments, intelligence, and training, specifically targeting Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and ISIL. The act was modeled on the Boland Amendment and was endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America, U.S. Peace Council, and Veterans For Peace. The bipartisan legislation includes sponsorship from Peter Welch, Barbara Lee, Dana Rohrabacher, and Thomas Massie.
Gabbard has argued that Islamic extremists' motives must be understood if they are to be defeated and must be differentiated from the "vast majority of Muslims who choose to live in a pluralistic, peaceful way with their own lives, choosing their own spiritual paths and letting others choose their own". She has opposed those characterizing the US war against ISIS and Al-Qaeda as a religious war as well as those who refuse to condemn the Wahhabi ideology driving these groups.
In her 2012 run for Congress, Gabbard received the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter's endorsement in the Democratic primary election. The Sierra Club endorsed her for her reelection in 2014, citing her as a champion of Hawai’i families’ health, air, food and water and a clear leader on environmental issues.
Gabbard cited environmental impact as a reason she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In December 2016, Gabbard, along with approximately 2,000 U.S. military veterans dubbed "The Veterans Stand for Standing Rock," traveled to North Dakota to join the protests against the construction of the final leg of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations. Opponents of the pipeline argue that its construction would threaten the water supply and quality in the region. Her visit came days before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not grant the easement for construction of the pipeline to allow exploration for alternate routes.
Gabbard favors allowing Medicare to negotiate with prescription drug firms to secure lower prescription drug prices. She states that this would save U.S. taxpayers "around $14 billion a year" on average. She supports full funding for Medicare and Social Security and opposes efforts to reduce benefits.
Gabbard is pro-choice. On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, she stated her support for that decision and for affordable healthcare services "which can contribute to fewer unplanned and teen pregnancies". She supports the Affordable Care Act's mandate that all health insurance provide contraception with no co-pay. In a 2011 interview with the Honolulu Civil Beat, Gabbard said she disagreed with the Obama administration's decision to overrule the FDA in allowing girls under 17 to purchase Plan B without a prescription.
In 2013, Gabbard stated: “I applaud the [Obama] Administration for clarifying that drone strikes on non-combatant American citizens on U.S. soil are not and will not be authorized. I understand firsthand the value of using counter-terrorism warfare tactics and strategies overseas in dealing with 21st century threats. But these tactics should never be used against our own citizens here at home. Just as U.S. law enforcement strategies do not apply in war with a foreign enemy, drone strikes and other counter-terrorism tactics should not be targeting non-combatant U.S. citizens." Gabbard made similar comments on Meet the Press.
To encourage tourism, Gabbard aims to relax "outdated" visa restrictions for tourists, especially those originating in India and China. She cosponsored a bill that would let illegal immigrants serve in the US military and another to extend and reform the Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi and Afghan civilians who risked their lives working with the U.S. government, American media and nonprofit organizations.
Gabbard supports reproductive choice and LGBT rights, saying that the government should not be the "moral arbiter" in people's lives. In June 2015, she issued a statement supporting Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, arguing that the United States was not a theocracy.
In 2012, Gabbard opposed the Defense of Marriage Act and a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a woman and a man. She cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act after her election to Congress, as she had promised to do during her campaign. Gabbard also asked Hawaii state legislators "to pass legislation that will ensure fair and equal treatment for all of Hawaii's citizens".
Gabbard previously opposed both civil unions and same-sex marriage. As a Hawaii state legislator in 2004, Gabbard argued against civil unions, saying, "To try to act as if there is a difference between 'civil unions' and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii who have already made overwhelmingly clear our position on this issue... As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists." Gabbard opposed Hawaii House Bill 1024, which would have established legal parity between gay couples in civil unions and married straight couples, and led a protest against the bill outside the room where the House Judiciary Committee held the hearing. In the same year, Gabbard expressed her opposition to Hawaii undertaking research on LGBT students, arguing that it would be a violation of their privacy and that "many parents would see the study as an indirect attempt by government to encourage young people to question their sexual orientation". At the time, she disputed that Hawaii schools were rampant with anti-gay discrimination. Gabbard publicly came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2012.[clarification needed] She credited her tours of duty in the Middle East for her change in views: "It brought me to a deeper understanding of the meaning of freedom in our country. … We cannot afford to walk down that dangerous path of government overstepping its boundaries into the most personal parts of our lives."
During her first Congressional term, Gabbard co-sponsored HR 1755, legislation that prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. She also co-sponsored two bills related to sexual orientation in the military. HR 2839: Restore Honor to Service Members Act gave military discharge review boards the discretion to retroactively grant honorable discharges to former members of the Armed Forces who were discharged because of their sexual orientation. HR 683 Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act provides the same benefits to same-sex military spouses as it does to different-sex spouses. In her second term, Gabbard co-sponsored HR 3185 The Equality Act, which amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among groups protected from discrimination in public places. She was also an original co-sponsor for HR 197 Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Gabbard says that "Native Hawaiians, as a people, should be empowered to determine their own future and what kind of relationship they choose to have with the U.S. federal government", and supports Native Hawaiian health and education initiatives.
On November 21, 2016, Gabbard became the second Democrat to meet with President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team at Trump Tower, after Michelle Rhee. She described the meeting as "frank and positive" and said she accepted the meeting to influence Trump before Republican neocons grew in influence and escalated the war to overthrow the Syrian government.
Gabbard spoke against Trump's executive order banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, saying that thorough vetting was sufficient. She joined 20 Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee urging Representative Ed Royce to call Michael Flynn to testify before them to investigate his and Trump’s ties to Russia and whether American national security and intelligence operations have been compromised.
Gabbard did not join the 169 congressional Democrats who signed a letter of opposition to Stephen Bannon's appointment as Trump's chief strategist. Bannon has described himself as a "big fan" of Gabbard; according to one source, "He loves Tulsi Gabbard,” and another source said that he “wants to work with her on everything." But Gabbard cosponsored a bill to remove Bannon from the National Security Council.
Gabbard's first name, "Tulsi" (Sanskrit: तुलसी, IAST: Tulsī) comes from the name of the holy basil, a plant sacred in Hinduism. She is a vegetarian and a Hindu who follows Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. She especially appreciates the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritual guide, and used it when she was ceremonially sworn in as a Representative. Gabbard describes herself as a "karma yogi" and credits her parents with instilling the value of "karma yoga" and being of service in her and her siblings. As a Vaishnava, in 2012 Gabbard said that she looked forward to visiting India, especially the holy sites of Vrindavan, after starting her congressional term.
Gabbard has said that she is pleased that her election gives hope to young American Hindus who "can be open about their faith, and even run for office, without fear of being discriminated against or attacked because of their religion". In 2002, Gabbard was a martial arts instructor.
Gabbard was married to Eduardo Tamayo in 2002; they divorced on June 5, 2006. She cites "the stresses war places on military spouses and families" as a reason for their divorce. Tamayo donated $500 to Gabbard's House campaign.
Gabbard called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited New York on September 28, 2014, and presented him with a ginger flower garland from Hawaii. She also gave him her copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the one she used to take the Oath of Office.
On November 25, 2013, Gabbard received the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award at a ceremony at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government for her efforts on behalf of veterans.
On February 10, 2015, Voices for National Service honored Gabbard with the Outstanding New Member Award for elevating national service as a first-term legislative priority.
Congressman Faleomavaega has congratulated Tulsi Gabbard on her recent election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Gabbard will become the first Samoan-American congresswoman after her swearing in ceremony at the opening of the 113th Congress.
After being deployed to the Middle East for a second time in 2008, she returned to Hawaii to complete a degree in international business from Hawaii Pacific University.
Among the last to apply: Tulsi Gabbard, who hasn't even been sworn in yet to her elected seat in the U.S. House.
She came to Senator Akaka's office last fall …
It was a long year for us, but we are so proud of Tulsi and our other soldiers for what they accomplished in the Middle East. They played a part in making history in Iraq. They represented our state very well. They completed the mission, and came home. Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the 29th BCT soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and freedom, and in our hearts, we share their pain.
Gabbard, a captain in the Hawaii National Guard, told about 100 legislative action officers from around the Guard and industry representatives that sequestration is still up in the air. She said it was being used by some as a 'political tool.'
Now more than ever, we must remain steadfast in our defense of a woman's right to choose.
Strengthen the tourism industry by relaxing outdated visa restrictions
At 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard.
|url=value (help). Contributions Arranged By Type And Recipient. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
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|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 2nd congressional district
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