Hawaiian Congresswoman and Veteran Tulsi Gabbard Has a Progressive Vision for America

June 4, 2019 by TWN Staff
Gabbard describes herself as a lifelong vegetarian as well as a lifelong environmentalist. When was 19, she and her father co-founded Healthy Hawaii Coalition, an environmental-education nonprofit. As a representative, she has supported sustainability and alternative energy. In December 2016, Gabbard and 2,000 other U.S. military veterans traveled to North Dakota to join the Standing Rock protests against the the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2017, she introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, which would transition the U.S. to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2035, stop new major fossil fuel projects and support workers displaced by job losses in the fossil fuel industry. (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Zuma Press/TNS)

Candidate: Tulsi Gabbard

State of Residence: Hawaii

Campaign Website: https://www.votetulsi.com

Gabbard describes herself as a lifelong vegetarian as well as a lifelong environmentalist. When was 19, she and her father co-founded Healthy Hawaii Coalition, an environmental-education nonprofit. As a representative, she has supported sustainability and alternative energy. In December 2016, Gabbard and 2,000 other U.S. military veterans traveled to North Dakota to join the Standing Rock protests against the the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2017, she introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, which would transition the U.S. to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2035, stop new major fossil fuel projects and support workers displaced by job losses in the fossil fuel industry. (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Zuma Press/TNS)

Short Bio: Tulsi Gabbard grew up in Hawaii in a multi-ethnic and multi-faith family. A practicing Hindu, she is of Asian, Polynesian, and Caucasian descent. As a teenager, she co-founded an environmental non-profit called Healthy Hawaii Coalition, focused on educating children about protecting Hawaii’s environment.

An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai‘i State Legislature in 2002 when she was just 21 years old, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. A year later, she joined the Hawaii Army National Guard to serve Hawai‘i and our country. In 2004, Tulsi volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone.

Tulsi served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a major in the Army National Guard. Tulsi’s 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.

In between her two tours, Tulsi served in the U.S. Senate as a legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, where she advised him on energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veteran issues.

While working for Senator Akaka in 2007, Tulsi graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy, where she was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the Academy’s 50-year history. Tulsi was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and again assigned to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaii Army National Guard—this time to serve as the Military Police Platoon Leader.

Tulsi continued to work for Senator Akaka until 2009, when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East. During this second deployment, in addition to leading her platoon on a wide variety of security missions, she also conducted non-military host-nation visits and served as a primary trainer for the Kuwait National Guard. Tulsi was one of the first women to set foot inside a Kuwait military facility and became the first woman to ever be awarded and honored by the Kuwait National Guard for her work in their training and readiness program.

In 2010, Tulsi was elected to the Honolulu City Council, serving as Chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. In 2011, she visited Indonesia as part of a peacekeeping training with the Indonesian Army. Tulsi was elected in 2012 to the United States House of Representatives, serving Hawaii’s 2nd District. She is one of the first two female combat veterans to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, and also its first Hindu member.

Now in her fourth term in Congress, Tulsi brings with her a broad range of real world experience, a storehouse of personal strength, and tested leadership as she represents the people of Hawai’i and our nation in Congress. As she works on the challenges that face our country, she remains focused on bringing her pragmatic approach to working in a collaborative, bipartisan fashion to find real solutions that best serve the people.

Tulsi serves on the House Armed Services Committee where she is a strong advocate for veterans, our service members, and making smart strategic decisions that best secure our nation. Tulsi also serves on the House Financial Services Committee, where she fights for the nation’s financial, banking, and housing policies to serve the American people — not Wall Street and special interests. Tulsi is working every day to make sure we have a sustainable economy that works for all families, with access to affordable health care, good jobs, and a quality education. [Congressional Bio]

Fun Fact: She is the first American Samoan and first Hindu member of Congress. [Axios]

On the Issues

Health Care: Create “Medicare for All,” a universal, government-sponsored health care system. Gabbard co-sponsored a bill to create a government-run system to provide health care for all residents of the United States. That bill, “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” would pay for health care by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, create a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment, tax unearned income, and also tax stock and bond transactions (not just the gains from those transactions). [PBS]

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