Tulsi Gabbard grew up in Hawai'i 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 Hawai'i 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 Hawai‘i 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-HI), 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 Hawai?i 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.
In this lecture to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, Rep. Gabbard discusses American foreign policy. She addresses the perils of the counterproductive, interventionist regime change wars that cost trillions of dollars that could otherwise be invested in our country’s future and the millions of lives that are lost.
For too long, the United States has turned a blind eye to the atrocities being committed against civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-U.S. coalition. Just last month, the Saudi-led coalition dropped a U.S.-made bomb in adevastating attack on a school bus that killed 40 children; just the latest in a long string of horrors in this genocidal war that has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians, with bombs and mass starvation, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
“Every year in Hawai‘i, more than 50,000 women are victims of domestic violence. While domestic violence continues to be an epidemic in our country and we have much more work to do, funding through the Violence Against Women Act has been critical to providing survivors and their families with resources, support, and care and also holding those responsible accountable. However these funds run out on September 30th - there is no time to waste. Congress needs to rise above partisan politics and come together to pass this life-saving legislation now.”
Over 140,000 servicemembers and veterans have reported exposure to burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals over the past three decades. However, based on deployment numbers, the actual exposure rate is likely over a million.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard urged President Donald Trump today to refrain from taking military action against Syria, saying it would escalate the conflict, resulting in more refugees and fewer resources to invest in rebuilding American communities.
Too often, when you raise the issue of guns in this country, it sparks highly divisive rhetoric with both sides drawing lines in the sand and pointing their arrows at each other. Caught in the middle, we see the faces and hear the voices of children who’ve witnessed the slaughter of their friends and teachers and who are crying out for action. The question is, will we hear them? Will we care enough to do something about it?
“For more than 25 years, the ADA has been instrumental in expanding and protecting fair, equal opportunities for disabled Americans. H.R. 620 unravels this progress, making it easier for employers to skirt around discrimination laws and requiring people with disabilities to jump through hoops for the equal access protections to which they are entitled. I’ve heard from many community organizations in Hawai‘i that shared how this legislation would hurt our more than 210,000 disabled residents. I stand with them in strong opposition to this harmful legislation.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted against legislation that would weaken protections against predatory and unsafe lending practices. H.R. 3299 would make it easier for payday lenders and other financial institutions to get around state laws and raise interest rates on loans that target low-income and minority communities. The legislation passed by a vote of 245-171.
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, announced support today for bipartisan legislation to authorize federal funding for veteran treatment courts in Hawai‘i and across the United States. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act (H.R. 4345) would provide federal grants to state, local, and tribal governments to establish new veteran treatment courts and maintain current programs, like the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court. More than 15,000 veterans nationwide have received support through veteran treatment courts.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) met with participants of the Kuleana Academy, a four-month leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program designed to educate and train grassroots leaders who have a desire to serve in public office, or as community organizers. The congresswoman answered questions from the group on getting involved in politics, working with local advocacy groups, working in a bipartisan way to deliver results, and more.
Veterans Day is special to me. It’s a day when I often get to spend time with fellow veterans from many different generations, share stories, and remember our brothers and sisters who never made that long trip home. We will never forget.
"The recent investigation by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes shines a light on the systematic failures behind the opioid epidemic. The pervasive hijacking of our government by the drug industry who have been buying their way into Congress has led to their influence in crafting every piece of legislation impacting the opioid crisis."
If the U.S. is truly committed to the security of the American people, and making the world a safer place through nuclear nonproliferation, we must demonstrate our commitment to peace and diplomacy to Iran and to the rest of the world.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House floor today calling on the Trump administration and Congress to pass an aid package for Puerto Rico now in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard demanded that the administration immediately send all available resources to help with recovery efforts.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard last week traveled to Armenia on an official, bipartisan diplomatic trip as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, and as a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.
Nothing is more important than the safety and security of the people of Hawaii and our country. As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, I am focused on keeping the American people safe from threats to our national security, environment, communities and fellow citizens.
Immigration reform has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. On Friday, she held a roundtable discussion with Maui recipients of DACA to discuss upcoming changes to the program.
This afternoon, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joined leaders and members of Hawai?i’s Muslim community from across the state, wishing them a warm Eid Mubarak during their annual celebration at McCoy Pavilion.
The congresswoman also visited with local businesses at the 2nd Annual VegFest O?ahu held at the Frank Fasi Civic Grounds near Honolulu Hale. The free community event celebrates plant-based, sustainable living, and featured close to 50 booths offering education, food, and entertainment. Activities also included plant-based cooking demos by expert chefs, speakers on health and environmental topics, a unique collection of food entrepreneurs selling island-made vegan products and dishes, movement classes, free food sampling, interactive exhibits with healthy games, and live music.
At the O?ahu Veterans Center today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Rainbow Chapter 483 (Honolulu) in honoring twelve recipients of the Purple Heart Medal at an official presentation ceremony.
At this panel discussion and press conference held in New York City on June 24th, 2017 by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance, Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined a panel discussion about how academic and legislative responses to terrorism are complementary approaches that will provide long term and intellectual responses to terrorism.
In a press release about the event, the IFUT said that this discussion "will lead towards nuanced understanding and informed solutions."
Gabbard said, “I think that there has been a concerted effort both on the part of some in the media, as well as many in politics, and many in our foreign policy establishment seem to have been advocating for a continuance of these regime change wars, really ignoring the fact of what has been the consequence of these wars in countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria, where each time we have waged these wars, [it] has resulted in the strengthening of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL], and it has resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and death for the people of these countries."
Many people have heard about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Native community's struggle against it. However, this type of struggle is not unique to that one area of the country.
In Maui, Hawaii, residents are facing a similar struggle against corporations about their access to water: "Instead of paying market rate for the water from public lands and sharing the proceeds with Native Hawaiians, as required by state law, for decades A&B has taken more than 80% of all public water consumed on the island." The corporation pays $3 per million gallons, while the island's 155,000 residents pay $4,000 for 1 million gallons.
This article looks at the intrinsic unfairness of this system and describes the coming together of a number of prominent Hawaii politicians, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, against this situation.
"Let us be brave and forceful in standing up for each other’s rights to live and worship freely and let us not be afraid to say that whoever threatens that right for any one of us will have to face all of us together."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivered the keynote address at the 10th Annual Prophet Muhammad Day event at Rutgers University. "The event, hosted by Muslims for Peace, is focused on bringing communities together to celebrate the legacy of compassion, mercy, and justice of the Prophet Muhammad, and to stand together against anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies."
Gabbard focuses on the need for faiths all across the country and the world to come together to respect and protect each other. She draws from personal experience when political opponents attempted to use her religion as a reason not to vote for her, and sites many instances of crime and discrimination against certain religions.
In November 2016, Founding Fellow and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria.
This article, written by Rep. Gabbard, summarizes the meeting and outlines the recommendations that she put forward to President Trump about how the U.S. could and should approach the Syrian civil war - including stopping U.S. interventionism and supporting groups with ties to Al Qaeda.
She states: "The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: We must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people.
"Nothing is more important to me, and nothing was more important to our founding fathers, than freedom of religion."
In this article and speech transcript, Rep Tulsi Gabbard talks about the importance of religious freedoms. She laments the amount of divisiveness that exists in the U.S. - some of which she has personally experienced when her opposition in a race implied that her religion made her unfit to serve - and around the world.
Gabbard calls on Americans to come together against religious discrimination. She states that it is a core tenant of the Constitution to be open and welcoming to all religions: We have a great challenge that lies before us. Let us stand proudly as Americans. As defenders of our constitution. As defenders of freedom. Let us be inspired by the vision put forward by our nation’s founders, and challenge those fomenting religious bigotry to do the same."
In this speech, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard talks about the need to take care of the veterans who have dedicated their lives to keeping this country safe.
She begins with a personal story about members of the military who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Then she turns to what she, and the country, can do to help those who have been lucky enough to come back. Gabbard laments the healthcare situation for servicemen and their families - having to wait months for care. She asks what our response would be to that situation "if that was your son or daughter who had been blown up by an IED who is told to wait 6 months to see a doctor."
Rep. Gabbard uses the speech to galvanize Americans to re-commit to honoring and taking care of those that put their lives on the line.
"I will never accept defeat. I will never leave a fallen comrade. We will never neglect those who are sick or in need...Let us strengthen our resolve so that we honor our friends and fight for them."
"The effect and cost of war on our troops is undeniable. It takes a toll on the toughest among them. Coming home should offer peace and a chance to heal."
In this op ed, Rep. Gabbard argues that the present neglect of veterans is unacceptable. "Last year, our country's failure to fulfill its promise to our veterans was starkly exposed. At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans faced wait times of 90 days or more to see a doctor."
Gabbard talks about legislation that she had put forward: "The bill's premise, to allow veterans to get the immediate care they need from non-VA medical providers, was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act that was enacted last year." Yet she argues that this is not enough.
"After serving and sacrificing for all of us, every single veteran should come home knowing that we are there for them, and we have their back."