Tulsi Gabbard: biography
Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician, working as the U.S. Representative Hawaii's 2nd congressional district since 2013, a former secretary of state. The woman has always been a political activist and reached a height in this field in 2012 when she was elected to the United States Congress.
Childhood and youth
Tulsi Gabbard was born literally at the end of the world – her birthplace is Leloaloa, Maoputasi County, American Samoa's main island of Tutuila. Her birthdate is April 12, 1981. Tulsi was born to the parents Carol (née Porter) and Mike Gabbard, the Hawaii Senate member, and was the fourth of 5 kids. In 1983 the family moved to Hawaii.
Tulsi Gabbard is of mixed race and grew up in a multireligious home. So, her father has Samoan and European roots, he is a former Catholic church lector. Tulsi's mother is from the United States: she was born in Decatur, Indiana and had German ancestry. The woman believed in Hinduism. So, Tulsi also chose Hinduism as her religion at an early age.
Tulsi studied at a local High school and spent two years of studying at a missionary academy for girls in the Philippines. Later she enrolled at Hawaii Pacific University from which she graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.
Hawaii House of Representatives (2002–2004)
In 2002 Tulsi Gabbard decided to apply for the 42nd House District of Hawaii House of Representatives elections. Her opposers were Rida Cabanilla, Dolfo Ramos, and Gerald Vidal. She outrun everyone, having scored 48 percent of votes in a poll.
In 2004 Tulsi intended to be re-elected. However, she changed her mind when Cabanilla filed to run against her. Gabbard denied her decision and volunteered for Army National Guard service in Iraq. So, instead of her, Rida Cabanilla won the Hawaii House of Representatives elections with 64% of votes.
In 2002, 21-year-old Tulsi was elected to a U.S. state legislature. She was the youngest its member in the Hawaii history. She was the Oahu 42nd District representative which includes Waipahu, Honolulu, and Ewa Beach.
Honolulu City Council (2011–2012)
In 2009 Tulsi had a deployment to the Middle East in 2009. Having returned home, she applied her candidacy for the Honolulu City Council elections.
The reason for the preschedule elections was Incumbent City Councilman Rod Tam's decision to retire to run for Mayor of Honolulu. The elections were held on September 2010. Gabbard faced 9 opposers but won with 33% of votes. On November 2, there was a second step of the elections. Gabbard won again with 58% of votes, having destroyed the opposer Sesnita Moepono to win the seat.
When Tulsi became a Honolulu City Councilwoman, she loosened parking restrictions to help food trucks vendors. Also, she renewed the Bill 54 by introducing a measure that let city workers confiscate personal belongings stored on public property with 24 hours' notice to its owner. It was endorsed and became City Ordinance 1129.
On August 16, 2012, Gabbard left the council for the sake of concentrating on her Congress campaign.
United States House of Representatives (2013–present)
At the beginning of 2011, the incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district Mazie Hirono decided to retire to apply her candidacy to the United States Senate. So, Gabbard intended to take her seat. The Democratic Mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann was the strongest opposer for her. However, Gabbard succeeded to win with 55% of votes or a total amount of 62 882 votes. Hannemann got the second place with 34% of votes or a total amount of 39 176 votes. In her future interview, Gabbard said this victory was an improbable rise from a distant underdog to victory.
On August 16, the woman left the City Council.
As a Democratic candidate, Tulsi Gabbard was sent to Charlotte, North Carolina to perform with a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
She won the elections held on November 6, 2012 – she defeated the weak opposer Kawika Crowley. So, Gabbard got 80,6% of votes, while only 19,4% voted for Crowley.
In December 2012, Daniel Inouye, the U.S. senator died, and Tulsi intended to apply her candidacy for the place. Unfortunately, she was not selected by the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
In 2014 Gabbard applied for reelections. So, she won the elections on November 8. The woman received 78,7% of votes, and her former opposer Crowley received only 18,6%. The third candidate was Joe Kent - he garnered 2.6%.
Two years later, she was reelected again, having beaten the Republican opposer Angela Kaaihue (81.2%–18.8%).
In 2018 Gabbard's opposer was Brian Evans. He got only 22,6% of votes, while Tulsi succeeded to garner the majority - 77,4%.
Interestingly, Tulsi Gabbard is the first Samoan-American voting member of the United States Congress and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress.
As a first-term politician, Gabbard elaborated the Helping Heroes Fly Act (H.R. 1344 (113th Congress)) aimed to improve airport security screenings for veterans in need. The measure succeeded in hearings, and President Obama signed it. Also, she was concerned about people with military sexual traumas and became a head of an effort to pass legislation to assist them.
Gabbard and her colleague Hirono elaborated a bill aimed to award Filipino and Filipino American veterans - participants World War II by Congressional Gold Medal. The bill was signed by President Obama in December 2016.
Moreover, Gabbard worked on Talia's Law aimed to stop cruelty to children on military bases – the measure was signed in December 2016.
In 2017 Tulsi finished the "Securing America's Election Act" aimed to develop renewable energy in the United States to 2035. The bill was endorsed by Food and Water Watch, which called it "visionary".
Gabbard's "Securing America's Election Act" was elaborated in 2018. It required all districts to use paper ballots, yielding an auditable paper trail in the event of a recount. Common Cause endorsed the bill. After the Mueller Report proved that Donald Trump did not refer to Russian intelligence in 2016, Gabbard called this finding "a good thing for America."
As a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tulsi Gabbard was against chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's idea to arrange only six debates during the 2016 Democratic Party primary season. For comparison, there were 26 ones in 2008 and 15 in 2004. Alongside colleagues Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak and two other candidates, she referred to Mass Media to criticize the decision. As a result, she was asked to deny from participation in the Democratic debate in Las Vegas. According to her words, Gabbard had an unhealthy atmosphere and the feeling that she had "checked [her free speech] at the door" in taking the job.
In February 2016, Tulsi retired to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Later, she was a speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
In 2016 Gabbard introduced to the public a petition to end the Democratic Party's process of appointing superdelegates in the nomination process. She supported Keith Ellison while the 2017 chairmanship elections.
In January 2017 Gabbard tripped to Syria, Israel and Lebanon. According to her, the trip was approved by the House Ethics Committee and sponsored by the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (AACCESS-Ohio). She was chaperoned by the chairman of AACCESS, Bassem Khawam, and Elie Khawam.
Later it was revealed Gabbard had paid for the traveling herself. The woman was accused of not complying 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.
Once the woman said she would probably apply for the seat of the US president in 2016. The same year, she became Bernie Sanders's running mate in California for any write-in votes for Sanders.
On February 19, Gabbard announced her decision to start a 2020 presidential campaign and was endorsed by David Duke.
Politico described the campaign as in disarray, as campaign manager Rania Batrice left the campaign after her unplanned announcement. The woman had to apologize for some of her former positions.
Besides working as a politician, Gabbard does some charity work. So, she, alongside her father, are the founders of Healthy Hawaii Coalition, an environmental educational group.
Also, she contributed to launching the non-profit Stand Up For America (SUFA) working since September 11, 2001.
At the beginning of 2019, the gossip appeared that Gabbard was a member of Hindu nationalist organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and the Hindu American Foundation. The reason for the rumor was that earlier she had denied from participation in the World Hindu Congress because of their links with Vishwa Hindu Parishad. As a response to the articles in magazines about her, she condemned religious intolerance in politics, media, and society in general.
Gabbard noted she was shocked by such a strong reaction on her meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's democratically elected leader, though President Obama, Secretary Clinton, President Trump and many of her colleagues in Congress have met with and worked with him.
In April 2003, Gabbard enrolled at the Hawaii Army National Guard.
In July 2004 she was sent as a volunteer to a 12-month tour in Iraq, where she served in the field medical unit as a specialist in a combat zone with the 29th Support Battalion medical company.
Meanwhile, she was serving in the State Legislature. Being busy with her duties in the Army, she decided not to apply for the reelection. Gabbard worked at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq until 2005.
In 2006 she became a legislative aide to the Senator Daniel Akaka.
In 2007 Gabbard graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. Interestingly, she became the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in 50 years.
She was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned again to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaii Army National Guard as an Army Military Police officer.
Gabbard worked in Kuwait from 2008 to 2009.
In May 2010 she was nominated to a White House Fellowship but didn’t get it. In 2011 Tulsi traveled to Indonesia as part of a peacekeeping training with the Indonesian Army.
On October 12, 2015, Gabbard received mayor at the ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Nowadays she keeps serving as a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard.
In August 2018, a video where Gabbard's behavior did not comply with military ethics rules appeared on her Facebook page. Also, her picture of Gabbard in uniform in a veterans' cemetery raised doubts. Remarkably, both controversial video and an image emerged during her campaign.
Gabbard's net worth was evaluated at $250 thousand.
In 2012, Gabbard supported the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act.
In 2018, Gabbard was against a bill that she said worked to undo state-level legislation aimed to curb maximum interest rates on loans. She said that interest rates could reach an annual percentage rate (APR) of 459% in Hawaii, which has no such state-level legislation.
Federal minimum wage
In 2017 Gabbard voted for an increase in the hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2024.
Tulsi Gabbard supports the idea to make community college tuition-free for all Americans and make all four-year colleges tuition-free for students with an annual family income of $125,000 or less. According to her policy, their tuition should be funded by a new tax on financial transactions.
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
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.
Gabbard's views support 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.
Gabbard supports reproductive rights. She opposed abortion earlier in her career but changed her mind. Gabbard voted against a proposal banning abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.
According to CNN, Tulsi Gabbard said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not the enemy of the United States, standing by her opposition to US involvement in that country's civil war two years after she met personally with the accused war criminal
Tulsi Gabbard has been married to Abraham Williams since 2015. They got to know each other in 2012 when Williams, a cinematographer, was hired to work on Gabbard’s campaign shoots.
Williams provides the videos and photos that are used for Gabbard’s campaigns. He has refrained from publicly commenting on his wife’s political life and has stayed out of the spotlight. But he may face more attention now that his wife has confirmed she is running for president in 2020.
It’s unclear exactly when Abraham Williams and Tulsi Gabbard first met. The congresswoman explained to the New York Times that they had known each other casually for years. They both love surfing, so it’s possible they met through the Hawaii surfing community.
They became better friends in 2012. Williams is a cinematographer and volunteered to help shoot Gabbard’s campaign ads when she was running for the U.S. Congress for the first time. Gabbard says Williams asked her out on a date while they were attending a mutual friend’s birthday party.
Gabbard told for their wedding announcement that she and Williams’ had fallen in love “over our mutual love for the ocean and surfing.” They spent a significant amount of time apart because of her work on Capitol Hill. But she explained that while in Hawaii, the couple loved to go on hikes, play sand volleyball and surf as often as possible.
The couple tied the knot April 9, 2015, in Kahaluu, Hawaii. A Hindu priest held the ceremony. Gabbard was 33 at the time, and Williams was 26.
However, William is Gabbard's second husband. She got married the first time at the age of 21. She married Eduardo Tamayo in 2002. Gabbard has said previously that her first marriage had suffered in part due to the stresses of life in the armed forces.
When Gabbard began dating Williams, she kept the relationship out of the spotlight. She didn’t even share his name until shortly before the wedding took place in April 2015.
Awards and honors
On July 15, 2015, Gabbard received the Friend of the National Parks Award from the National Parks Conservation Association.
In her role with the Hawaii Army National Guard, Gabbard has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf device, the Army Achievement Medal with bronze oak leaf device, and the Army Combat Medical Badge
At present, Tulsi Gabbard's net worth is estimated at $250,000.