Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Congress

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Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Rep. of Hawaii

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Leloaloa, Ma'Oputasi, Eastern District, American Samoa
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Mike Gabbard and Private
Wife of Private
Ex-wife of Private
Sister of Private; Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Tamás Flinn Caldwell-Gilbert
Last Updated:
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About Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Congress

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 second congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until 28th February, 2016 when she resigned from the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders for president.

Elected in 2012, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress, and, along with Tammy Duckworth, one of its first female combat veterans. Gabbard previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004, becoming the youngest woman in the United States to be elected to a state legislature at the time. She returned to the United States in 2006 and worked for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, then volunteering 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 second congressional district and won the primary with 55%, scoring an upset win over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. She won the general election with 81% of the vote and in the House of Representatives, she serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. She is also currently a military police officer with the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Personal life

Gabbard's first name, "Tulsi", 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 the Gita 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, Gabbard looks 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 was on a visit to New York on September 28, 2014, and presented him with a ginger flower garland from Hawaii. She also gave her own copy of the Hindu Holy Book "Bhagavad Gita" (same copy that she used to take the Oath of Office) to Narendra Modi.

Tulsi Gabbard accepted the marriage proposal of Abraham Williams in February 2015 and they married on April 9, 2015, in a Vedic-style wedding.

Awards and honors

  • On November 25, 2013, Rep. Gabbard was awarded 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 Rep. Gabbard, with others, at the Italian Embassy in the United States during its annual "Women in Washington Power List".
  • On February 10, 2015, Voices for National Service honored Rep. Gabbard with the Outstanding New Member Award for elevating national service as a first-term legislative priority.
  • On February 25, 2015, the National Association of Counties (NACo) awarded Rep. Gabbard the 2015 NACo County Alumni Award for her "steadfast commitment to the nation's counties".
  • On July 15, 2015, Rep. Gabbard was honored with the Friend of the National Parks Award from the National Parks Conservation Association.
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Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Congress's Timeline

1981
April 12, 1981
Leloaloa, Ma'Oputasi, Eastern District, American Samoa