The Unique, Historic, and Inspiring Life of Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi is a public servant by nature who possesses the humility to respectfully listen to both sides of a debate, the experience to handle any challenge, and the courage to make the right decision and get the job done.
Dedication to Service Tulsi has dedicated her life to serving others.
Tulsi learned from a young age the importance of serving others and living aloha. Inspired and motivated by this spirit of aloha, Tulsi took this lesson to heart, and has tried to live her life dedicated to serving the people of Hawai‘i.
From a very young age, Tulsi has shown a passion for public service. Her commitment to serving the community and making a positive impact has influenced every major decision in her life. Her service has included working with at-risk youth, joining the Hawai‘i National Guard and deploying twice to the Middle East, being elected to the Hawai‘i State Legislature and the Honolulu City Council, having the honor of serving Hawaii’s people in the U.S. Senate as legislative aide to Senator Daniel K. Akaka, and continuing her ongoing work and leadership on environmental issues and projects.
The Early Years
Tulsi was born in 1981 in Leloaloa, American Samoa, the fourth of five children born to Carol and State Senator Mike Gabbard. At the age of two, the family moved to Hawai‘i, where they first settled in Wahiawa on Royal Palm Drive, where Tulsi’s sister, the family’s youngest, was born.
Learning First-Hand About Small Business
Tulsi learned the challenges and rewards of small business at an early age, helping her parents with two successful family businesses, including “Hawaiian Toffee Treasures.” The long hours, hard work, and uncertainties inherent in getting a small business off the ground gave Tulsi first-hand experience in the business world and prompted her to focus on business in college, graduating in 2010 from Hawai`i Pacific University with a degree in International Business.
The Youngest Person Ever Elected to the Hawaii State Legislature
After her unprecedented election to the Hawai`i State Legislature in ’02, Tulsi represented District 42 in West Oahu. She was an effective, admired, and hard-working legislator who served on the Education, Higher Education, Tourism, and Economic Development committees.
A Truly Remarkable Military Career Highlighted by Self-sacrifice and Bravery
It is very rare that an elected official will voluntarily give up his or her position. Tulsi not only sacrificed her position in the State Legislature, she did so to serve her country and state in uniform in a war zone in Iraq .Her two deployments to the war-torn and dangerous Middle East revealed both Tulsi’s natural inclination to self-less service and her ability to perform well in situations demanding confidence, courage, and the ability to perform well as a member of a team. The same maturity and character that served Tulsi well in the Middle East makes her exceptionally effective in the political world.
Serving Hawai`i’s people in the U.S. Senate as legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka
In 2006, Tulsi went to Washington D.C. to serve in the U.S. Senate as legislative aide to Senator Daniel K. Akaka. There, she advised Senator Akaka on issues relating to energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veteran affairs. Tulsi was proud to serve with Senator Akaka and continues to be inspired by his mentorship and deep love and aloha for the people of Hawai‘i and his commitment to public service.
Protecting Our ‘Aina – Co-founding the Healthy Hawai`i Coalition
At the age of 19, Tulsi co-founded Healthy Hawai‘i Coalition (HHC), a non-profit grassroots organization whose mission is to protect the environment and improve individual and community health. Tulsi was instrumental in developing HHC’s watershed education curriculum, which has been presented to more than 50 public and private schools statewide. Through her Healthy Hawai`i Coalition, Tulsi is active on issues impacting public health and the environment within communities across the state.
Councilwoman Gabbard presently serves on the Honolulu City Council.
After returning home from her second deployment to the Middle East in 2009, Tulsi offered to serve on the Honolulu City Council and was elected into office on November 3, 2010. Tulsi currently serves as Chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs committee, as Vice Chair of the Budget committee and is a member of the Zoning and Public Works committee. In her capacity as committee chair, Tulsi has taken the lead on many important issues such as medical waste, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), dengue fever, and creating new economic opportunities through Honolulu’s first Sister City Summit.
Tulsi is an Ideal Public Servant Who Listens to the People She Serves
Tulsi possesses a maturity and self-confidence that leaves her more intent on listening to what others have to say than in having her own views heard. Her life experiences have made Tulsi the ideal public servant: she is very comfortable with herself and is able to listen to others with genuine empathy and compassion.
Tulsi possesses the rare combination of youth and experience. With a lifetime’s experiences seemingly compressed into three decades, it is easy to see why many people perceive in Tulsi Gabbard a maturity and depth beyond her years.