Born In: Leloaloa, American Samoa
Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician and an US Army Reserve officer, who is a former U.S. representative from Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. Raised in Hawaii, Tulsi was born to a Democratic Party Senator and was home-schooled during most of her growing up years. She volunteered to join the Hawaii Army National Guard in 2004 and was first deployed to Iraq, and later to Kuwait. At the age of 21, in 2002, she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives from the 43rd district. She refused to go for re-election due to her commitment to the armed forces. After serving as a member of the Honolulu City Council and the Democratic National Committee, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the 2nd congressional district of Hawaii, in 2013. She remained in the position until the 2020 presidential elections, where she was a Democratic primary candidate in the initial phases. She later supported Joe Biden’s candidacy. Initially, she was anti-LBGT marriages but in the 2010s, her stand on the issue took a u-turn. She is also anti-war. She is a devoted Hindu and embraces the teachings of ancient Hindu text Bhagwad Geeta.
Spouse/Ex-: Abraham Williams (m. 2015), Eduardo Tamayo (m. 2002–2006)
father: Mike Gabbard
mother: Carol Porter Gabbard
Born Country: American Samoa
Notable Alumni: Hawaii Pacific University
education: Hawaii Pacific University, Leeward Community College
awards: Combat Medical Badge
Meritorious Service Medal
Tulsi Gabbard was born on April 12, 1981, in Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, to Mike and Carol Gabbard. She was raised as one among five children in the family and had three brothers and one sister growing up. When she was two years old, her family moved to Hawaii.
Tulsi hailed from a multi-cultural background as her mother was from Michigan and her father was originally from American Samoa, who had lived in Florida and Hawaii. Her father was a member of the Senate from American Samoa, from the Democratic Party.
Tulsi adopted the Hindu faith when she was a teenager, a faith of which her parents were ardent followers. And hence, her first name comes from a Sanskrit language word. Her siblings were also named in such way
Tulsi was home-schooled during most of her younger years. Following her graduation, she enrolled in the Hawaii Pacific University and in 2009, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
In the late 1990s, she worked for an anti-gay marriage organization named Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values. Her father had founded this anti-gay-marriage action committee, of which she became a highly active member. She was strongly anti-gay during most of her early life and career
She further worked for the organization named Stand Up For America, which was also founded by her father after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
She also began working as a martial arts instructor in the late 1990s. While working there, in 2002, she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives, as a legislator. She thus became the youngest ever legislator to be elected from the 42nd House district.
In 2003, she enlisted into the Hawaii Army National Guard and in 2004, she opted out of re-election to the House in order to volunteer for the Army National Guard Service in Iraq. She was deployed in Iraq for 12 months as a specialist with the medical company. She also served in the Logistical Support Area Anaconda.
While in Iraq, she also worked for a Hawaii Senator named Daniel Akaka as a legislative aid and also graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School of the Alabama Military Academy.
In 2007, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served as Army Military Police Officer. From 2008 to 2009, for a year, she served in Kuwait, as a trainer for the Kuwait National Guard. She became the first woman to win an award from the Kuwait National Guard and also the first woman to enter a military facility in Kuwait.
In October 2015, she was promoted to the position of major, from captain, and she kept the rank of major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, until 2020. In 2020, she was transferred to Civil Affairs Command, of the United States Army Reserve.
In 2011, after returning from the Middle East operations, she contested for a seat in the Honolulu City Council from the 6th district and won the election. She was in the office from January 2011 to August 2012.
In 2011, the Democratic incumbent in the House of Representatives, from the 2nd congressional district of Hawaii announced her retirement. Tulsi announced that she would contest from her seat. In August 2012, Tulsi retired from the Honolulu City Council to focus on her congressional campaign in a six-way Democratic primary. She emerged victorious and became the first Hindu member of the congress.
In December 2012, she was also considered a strong candidate to run for the Senate. But she was not named among the three candidates from the Democratic Party of Hawaii to contest for the seat, despite having strong support from some major Democratic leaders.
In May 2013, she introduced the ‘Helping Heroes Fly Act’, which aimed at providing better airport security facilities for the wounded American war veterans. The bill was passed through Congress successfully and was later turned into a law by President Barack Obama.
In 2013, she was made the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She resigned from her position in 2016 when she supported Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate for the presidential elections.
Tulsi was re-elected from the same House seat in the 2014 general elections. She introduced a bill in the house which asked for a Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipinos who had served in World War II from the Allied side. The bill was passed in Congress and Barack Obama signed it into law. In addition, she also brought ‘Talia’s Law’, a bill which aimed towards preventing child abuse and neglect on the American military bases. It was also passed by Congress and made into a law by the President.
She remained on her Congressional seat until 2020 when she announced her candidacy for the presidential nomination. In the same year, she co-introduced a bill urging the United States to drop the charges against Edward Snowden.
In 2019, she became the first-ever female combat veteran to announce her candidacy for the Presidential election. She took part in the Democratic debates in 2020 for the primary elections. After participating in the first two debates, she was not invited for the third debate, after which she criticized the Democratic National Committee’s process and said that it lacked transparency. She became the most Googled Democratic candidate after the first, second and fourth debates.
In 2020, Hillary Clinton claimed that Russia was secretly grooming a female candidate who would run from a third party and would lead Donald Trump to win the election, via a ‘Spoiler Effect’. It was well known that she was talking about Tulsi. Tulsi however denied joining a third party. She was supported by many Democratic members and filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, but took it back in a few months.
Tulsi supported a ‘single-payer plus’ plan, which is known as the ‘two-tier universal healthcare plan’. She also supported the universal basic income. While she was earlier strongly anti-gay marriage in her political standings, she overtime changed her stand on the issue and in 2012, she said that she wanted to get the Defence of Marriage Act repealed
In March 2020, she dropped out of the election and supported the candidacy of Joe Biden as the Presidential candidate from the Democratic Party. Biden won and became the President of the United States following the 2020 elections.
In January 2021, she launched a podcast named This is Tulsi Gabbard and has since made several appearances on Fox News.
She has been honoured with several awards, such as the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and a County Alumni Award by the National Association of Counties, among other awards and honours.
Tulsi Gabbard married Eduardo Tamayo in 2002. The couple divorced in 2006, which she blamed on the ‘stress caused by the war on military spouses’.
In 2015, she married a freelance cinematographer Abraham Williams.
She is an ardent Hindu and is a pure vegan. She gifted a copy of Bhagwad Geeta to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 during his visit to the country.
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