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Tulsi Gabbard (/ˈtʌlsi ˈɡæbərd/; born April 12, 1981) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, she was 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 Samoan-American member and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress. Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was later deployed to Kuwait. She previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004. When she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at age 21, Gabbard was the youngest woman to be elected to a U.S. state legislature. She supports abortion rights and Medicare for All, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and publicly announced her support of same-sex marriage in 2012. She opposes removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power by force.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Hawaii's 2nd district
|Assumed office |
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|
|Born|| (1981-04-12) April 12, 1981 (age 37)|
Leloaloa, American Samoa, U.S.
(m. 2002; div. 2006)
Abraham Williams (m. 2015)
|Education||Hawaii Pacific University (BSBA)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||2003–present|
|Unit||Hawaii Army National Guard|
|Awards||Meritorious Service Medal|
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Tulsi Gabbard (/
Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was later deployed to Kuwait. She previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004. When she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at age 21, Gabbard was the youngest woman to be elected to a U.S. state legislature. She supports abortion rights and Medicare for All, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and publicly announced her support of same-sex marriage in 2012. She opposes removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power by force.
Tulsi Gabbard was born on April 12, 1981, in Leloaloa, Maoputasi County, on American Samoa's main island of Tutuila. She was the fourth of five children born to Carol (née Porter) and Mike Gabbard. In 1983, when Gabbard was two years old, her family moved to Hawaii. Her father is a member of the Hawaii Senate.
Gabbard was raised in a multicultural and multireligious household. Her father is of Samoan and European ancestry and an active lector at his Catholic church. Her mother, who was born in Decatur, Indiana, is of European descent and a practicing Hindu. Tulsi chose Hinduism as her religion while she was a teenager.
Gabbard was home-schooled through high school except for two years at a girls-only missionary academy in the Philippines. She worked for a period of time at her father's anti-LGBT political action committee, the Alliance for Traditional Marriage. She graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2009.
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 to run against her, called on the incumbent to resign because she would not be able to represent her district from Iraq. Gabbard chose not to campaign for a second term, and Cabanilla won the Democratic primary, 64%–25%.
In 2002, at the age of 21, Gabbard had become the youngest legislator ever elected in Hawaii's history and the youngest woman ever elected to a U.S. state legislature. She represented the Oahu 42nd District, which covers Waipahu, Honolulu, and Ewa Beach.
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.
As a councilmember, Gabbard introduced a measure to help food truck vendors by loosening parking restrictions. She also introduced Bill 54, a measure that authorized city workers to confiscate personal belongings stored on public property with 24 hours' notice to its owner. After overcoming opposition from the ACLU and Occupy Hawai'i, 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. The Democratic Mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann, was the best-known candidate in the six-way primary, but Gabbard won with 62,882 votes or 55% of the total; Hannemann finished second and took 39,176 votes or 34%. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser described her win as an "improbable rise from a distant underdog to victory." Gabbard resigned from the City Council on August 16 to prevent the cost of holding a special election.
As the Democratic nominee, Gabbard traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. 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, by approximately 130,000 votes, or 168,503 to 40,707 votes (80.6%−19.4%).
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 Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Gabbard was reelected on November 8, 2014, defeating Crowley again, by roughly 110,000 votes, or 142,010 to 33,630 votes (78.7%–18.6%); Joe Kent garnered 4,693 votes (2.6%) as an independent Libertarian.
Gabbard was reelected in 2018. She defeated her Republican opponent, Brian Evans, by around 110,000 votes, or 153,271 to 44,850 votes (77.4%–22.6%).
In her first term, Gabbard introduced a measure seeking to improve airport security screenings for severely wounded veterans. It passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama. She also led an effort to pass legislation to assist victims of military sexual trauma.
Along with Senator Hirono, Gabbard introduced a bill to award Filipino and Filipino American veterans who fought in World War II the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed Congress and was signed by Obama into law in December 2016.
Gabbard, a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, was critical of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's decision to hold only six debates during the 2016 Democratic Party primary season, compared with 26 in 2008 and 15 in 2004. Along with Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak and two candidates, Gabbard called for more debates, appearing on multiple news outlets to express her dissatisfaction with the reduction in the number. Later she was either "disinvited" or asked to "consider not coming" to the Democratic debate in Las Vegas as a consequence. In a phone interview with the New York Times, Gabbard spoke of an unhealthy atmosphere and the feeling that she had "checked [her free speech] at the door" in taking the job.
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 Congresswoman to endorse Sanders. and later gave the nominating speech putting his name forward at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
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 2017 chairmanship elections.
In January 2017, Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad in what she said was an unplanned meeting during a trip to Syria and Lebanon. Gabbard said in a press 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 chairman of AACCESS, Bassem Khawam, accompanied Gabbard on the trip, as did Elie Khawam.
Gabbard "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." She later paid for the trip with her own money. On February 7, 2017, it was reported that Gabbard 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.
On February 2, 2019, Gabbard officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign, saying that it was in the "spirit of service above self" that she announced her candidacy. CNN described her as running on "an anti-interventionalist" foreign policy platform and a populist economic one. Politico described the campaign as in disarray, with campaign manager Rania Batrice and digital consulting firm Revolution Messaging both leaving the campaign after her unplanned announcement. Along with the recent conflict surrounding her use of the term "religious bigotry" (in speaking of Brian Buescher's confirmation hearings), and the Daily Kos's decision to fund her opponent for her House seat, Gabbard also apologized for some of her former positions.
In April 2003, while serving in the State Legislature, Gabbard enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard.
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 in a combat zone 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 London bombings.
Upon her return from Iraq in 2006, Gabbard began serving as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in Washington, DC.
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 an Army Military Police officer.
Gabbard continued to work for Akaka until she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East. She was deployed to Kuwait.
In May 2010, Gabbard was one of thirty finalists for a White House Fellowship and one of three finalists from Hawaii, but was not selected as a fellow. In June 2011, Gabbard visited Indonesia as part of a peacekeeping training with the Indonesian Army.
On October 12, 2015, Gabbard was promoted from captain 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.
On August 7, 2018, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that the Hawaii Army National Guard had instructed Gabbard that a video of her in uniform on her VoteTulsi Facebook page did not comply with military ethics rules. Gabbard's campaign removed the video and added a disclaimer to the website's banner image of Gabbard in uniform in a veterans' cemetery that the image does not imply an endorsement from the military. A similar situation had happened during a previous Gabbard congressional campaign. A spokeswoman for Gabbard said the campaign would work closely with the Department of Defense to ensure compliance with all regulations.
Gabbard was also a cofounder of the non-profit Stand Up For America (SUFA), which she and her father co-founded in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. SUFA's website profiled Gabbard and hosted letters from her sent during her deployments overseas. In September 2010, SUFA's website came under criticism 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 January 2019, The Intercept published an article claiming Gabbard has links with Hindu nationalist organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and the Hindu American Foundation. Gabbard had previously withdrawn her participation from events due to their links with Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the most notable being the World Hindu Congress, “due to ethical reasons arising from participating in partisan politics of India in America”. An earlier version of the Intercept's article searched Gabbard's do list for "names ... of Hindu origin" to "show Gabbard’s broad base of support in the Hindu-American community". In an op-ed, Gabbard criticized this as religious bigotry, saying that Christians would not be subject to such scrutiny based on their names. She also condemned religious intolerance in politics, media, and society in general. The Intercept removed the sentence with an apology, saying that it was not intended "to question the motives of those political donors" and apologizing "for any such implication". Gabbard also rebutted claims she is a "Hindu nationalist", calling it "religious bigotry", and writing "My meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's democratically elected leader, have been highlighted as 'proof' of this and portrayed as somehow being out of the ordinary or somehow suspect, even though President Obama, Secretary Clinton, President Trump and many of my colleagues in Congress have met with and worked with him."
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Gabbard supports universal health care. She co-sponsored a bill that would create a "government-run system to provide health care for all residents of the United States", in part paid for by hiking taxes on the wealthy and taxing financial transactions. She has also called for empowering the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower prescription drug prices as part of her platform.
Gabbard supports making community college tuition-free for all Americans while making all four-year colleges tuition-free for students with an annual family income of $125,000 or less (funded by a new tax on financial transactions). She backed Senator Bernie Sanders's proposal to cut or eliminate higher education tuition for most Americans.
Gabbard has opposed US involvement in regime change, calling it counterproductive to defeating ISIL, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. She criticized the Obama Administration for "refusing" to say that "Islamic extremists" are waging a war against the United States.
In 2017, Gabbard proposed the Stop Arming Terrorists Act "to force the C.I.A. to stop aiding militants in Syria" by banning federal funding for Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and ISIL. Announcing the legislation, she said: "If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL ... and other terrorist groups with money, weapons and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government."
Gabbard met with U.S.-backed Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in November 2015 to discuss "the threat of ISIS and Islamic extremist groups, how to strengthen the U.S.-Egypt relationship to ensure stability in Egypt, and the importance of religious freedom". She subsequently spoke positively of el-Sisi in a public statement, saying he showed "great courage and leadership in taking on [...] extreme Islamist ideology" while calling on the U.S. to "recognize President el-Sisi and his leadership [...] and stand with him in this fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other Islamic extremists who are our common enemy". This statement has been criticized due to the authoritarian nature of el-Sisi's rule.
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 the 2002 Gujarat riots was a "great blunder" as it could have undermined the US-India relationship (which she said was important especially in regard to the war on terrorism, among other reasons) had he used it as an excuse to reject a strong relationship with America.
Gabbard 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 House resolution 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". The bill admonished India to protect "the rights and freedoms of religious minorities" and specifically referenced incidents of mass violence against India's Muslim minority that took place under Modi's watch. Gabbard justified her opposition by saying the resolution would weaken the friendship between India and the US and citing the bill's timing as interfering with India's elections, while emphasizing the need for US to stand for religious freedom. She later also said that "there was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002."
In an NDTV India interview during a 2014 trip to India, Gabbard said that, "very bluntly," she was "conflicted" about a recently-published report concerning CIA use of torture in interrogations. She was also asked about her 2012 opponent's claim that electing a Hindu was incompatible with the US Constitution.
Gabbard voted in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement with Iran which imposed restraints on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.
In March 2015, she said that United States’ relationship with Israel "must rise above the political fray, as America continues to stand with Israel as her strongest ally." In January 2017, Gabbard voted against a House resolution condemning the U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements built on the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank. She said: "While I remain concerned about aspects of the U.N. resolution, I share the Obama administration’s reservation about the harmful impact Israeli settlement activity has on the prospects for peace."
On April 25, 2018, 57 members of the House of Representatives, including Gabbard, released a condemnation of Holocaust distortion in Ukraine and Poland. They criticized Poland’s new Holocaust law and Ukraine’s 2015 memory laws glorifying Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and its leaders, such as Roman Shukhevych.
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 has cited US "regime-change" involvement in Syria as a source of the Syrian refugee crisis. In 2013 Gabbard opposed the Obama administration's proposed military strikes in Syria. She later introduced legislation to block U.S. military action against Assad. She claimed that the United States had "been waging a regime change war in Syria since 2011. Central to that war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad, along with our allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, has been providing direct and indirect support to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda".
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 Assad. 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".
Gabbard 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," the resolution was "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 November 2016 she met with United States president-elect Donald Trump to enlist his support to stop the United States' alleged "illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government".
In April 2017, after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack killed at least 74 civilians and injured hundreds more, she called for a U.N. investigation into the attack and the prosecution of Bashar al-Assad by the International Criminal Court should he be found responsible. After Trump ordered the 2017 Shayrat missile strike targeting the Syrian airfield believed to be the source of the attack, Gabbard called the strike reckless and expressed skepticism that Assad was responsible for the attack, which led to sharp criticism from former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean as well as Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden.
Gabbard strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and led protests against it. A member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, she criticized both the deal itself and the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, arguing that it would largely benefit multinational corporations at the expense of American workers while harming the environment.
During the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis Gabbard tweeted that the United States should stay out of Venezuela: "The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don't want other countries to choose our leaders so we have to stop trying to choose theirs”.
Gabbard has called for ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, saying the U.S. is complicit in a humanitarian disaster. In September 2018, she supported a legislation invoking the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to stop U.S. involvement in the war.
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 Hawaiian families' health, air, food and water and a clear leader on environmental issues.
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.
In September 2017, Gabbard introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (HR3671), legislation seeking to transition the United States to 100% clean renewable energy by 2035. The bill would require electric utilities to transition to 80% renewable energy resources by 2037, and 100% renewable by 2050, while additionally setting similar vehicle emission standards goals and banning hydraulic fracturing.
Gabbard has been one of a handful of Members of Congress that do not accept corporate campaign donations. She has committed to not accepting contributions from special interest political action committees or lobbyists, and has consequently been endorsed by End Citizens United.
Gabbard holds two 100% lifetime ratings from both The Planned Parenthood action fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America indicating a strong pro-choice stance. She was pro-life earlier in her career but her position has since changed. Gabbard has voted against a proposal banning abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Gabbard previously opposed both civil unions and same-sex marriage. In the early 2000s, Gabbard worked with her father Mike Gabbard "to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage". She worked with The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee (PAC) run by her father that opposed pro-LGBT lawmakers and laws, and promoted conversion therapy. In her campaign for the Hawaii legislature in 2002, she vowed to "pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional 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." She opposed Hawaii House Bill 1024, which would have established legal parity between same-sex 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. The same year, she 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". She also disputed that Hawaii schools were rampant with anti-gay discrimination.
In 2012, Gabbard said that she believed same-sex marriage should be legalized throughout the United States. She credited her tours of duty in the Middle East for her change in views. Her subsequent support of LGBTQ issues included co-sponsoring The Equality Act. The Human Rights Campaign gave her a score of 100 for her votes during the 115th Congress, with scores of 88 and 92 for the previous two sessions, respectively. She has opposed both the Defense of Marriage Act and a proposed state constitutional amendment to 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". In June 2015, she issued a statement supporting Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, arguing that the United States was not a theocracy.
In January 2019, after launching her presidential campaign, Gabbard issued a public apology for her past anti-LGBT rights positions and statements, saying that her views had changed as her experience outside of a socially conservative home grew, and pointed to her voting record. Matthew Choi reported in Politico that "Human Rights Campaign gave her a score of 100 for her voting record."
During Brian C. Buescher's confirmation hearing for U.S. District Court in Nebraska, Gabbard wrote an op-ed on the Hill's Congress Blog arguing that while she opposed Buescher's nomination, opposing him on the grounds of his association with the Roman Catholic Church or the Knights of Columbus amounted to religious bigotry and violated Article VI of the US Constitution.
On November 21, 2016, Gabbard became the second Democrat (after Michelle Rhee) to meet with President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team at Trump Tower. She described the meeting as "frank and positive" and said she accepted the meeting to influence Trump before Republicans grew in influence and escalated the war to overthrow the Syrian government. She later called the Trump administration's 2017 Shayrat missile strike reckless and "short-sighted."
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, but she joined 182 other colleagues to co-sponsor a bill to remove him from the National Security Council.
Gabbard's first name, "Tulsi" comes from the Sanskrit Tulasi (Sanskrit: तुलसी, IAST: Tulasī; commonly Tulsī). Tulsi is the name for "holy basil," a plant sacred in Hinduism. Her siblings also have Hindu Sanskrit-origin names. During her childhood, Tulsi excelled in martial arts, and was interested in gardening. She is known to be a surfer and an accomplished athlete. In 2002, Gabbard was a martial arts instructor. She is a vegetarian and a Hindu who follows Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 16th century. She especially appreciates the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritual guide, and used it when she took the Oath of office in 2013. Gabbard describes herself as a karma yogi.
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".
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 March 26, 2014, Elle honored Gabbard, with others, at the Italian Embassy in the United States during its annual "Women in Washington Power List".
On February 25, 2015, the National Association of Counties (NACo) awarded Gabbard the 2015 NACo County Alumni Award for her "steadfast commitment to the nation's counties".
On July 15, 2015, Gabbard received the Friend of the National Parks Award from the National Parks Conservation Association.
Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard (BSBA International Business 2009)
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.
Interviewer: He [Crowley] said that your religion was incompatible with the Consitution, if I remember correctly?
TG: Exactly. Hindus have no place in the United States Congress I think was the gist of what he said.
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.
At 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard.
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from Hawaii's 2nd congressional district
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