Hawaii Democratic representative to speak at AU
The Kennedy Political Union will host Hawaii’s Democratic representative Tulsi Gabbard on March 2 at 8:15 p.m. in Mary Graydon Center.
Gabbard is known for breaking down barriers as a female member of the military and as a Hindu in Congress.
Gabbard currently serves on the House committees for Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security.
“Rep. Gabbard holds many of the qualities KPU looks for in an ideal speaker,” KPU said in a written statement. “Rep. Gabbard serves as an inspiration to many young people in the United States due to her military service, her status as the first Hindu to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, and her continued efforts to break the barriers women face in the military."
Gabbard serves Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district, and she was the youngest person ever elected to the state legislature in 2002.
Gabbard has an extensive military background. She began serving in the Hawaii National Guard in 2003, before voluntarily deploying to Iraq in 2004. Gabbard served two tours of combat duty in the Middle East and returned to the United States in 2006. She volunteered for another deployment in 2009 and returned to Hawaii in 2010.
For her service, Gabbard was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was also the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan's Officer Candidate School and the first woman to receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second tour, according to Gabbard’s congressional website.
She continues to serve as a Captain in the Hawaii National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team, according to a press release from KPU.
Gabbard’s political clout has also set her apart from her colleagues as she has served on numerous committees regarding development, security and veteran affairs.
In 2010, she was elected to the Honolulu City Council. During this time, she served as chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs committee as well as vice chair of the Budget committee.
Gabbard won the Democratic primary election over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for the second district congressional seat in 2012. Gabbard also spoke at the Democratic National Convention that year in Charlotte, North Carolina.