Who: Tulsi Gabbard
Current position: U.S. Representative for Hawaii
Campaign Website: https://www.tulsi2020.com
Background: Gabbard first was a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2002, which made her the youngest person elected into Hawaii Legislature. In 2004 she relieved her seat to join the war in Iraq. Returning home in 2006, she moved to Washington D.C. and became an adviser for Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. During that time, she studied at the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at Ft. McClellan, Alabama and became the first woman to receive a distinguished honor graduation at the academy in 2007. Afterwards, she returned to the Middle East with her unit in 2008. Gabbard then went back to Hawaii and graduated in 2009 with a degree in International Business from Hawaii Pacific University. In 2012, she won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and continues to represent Hawaii’s second district today.
2020 Campaign & Endorsements
Date Announced: Feb. 2, 2019
Fundraising: $4.5 million in first quarter
Campaign Leadership: Noland Chambliss
- Healthcare: Gabbard supports socialist healthcare in order to cover the 27 million Americans not insured under the Affordable Care Act, according to her website. She wants the government talk with pharmaceutical companies about lowering drug prices.
- Environment: Gabbard believes in finding solutions to climate change, and she is opposed to the Keystone Pipeline.
- Economy: Gabbard is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. She said that the deal, “would reduce restrictions on foreign corporations operating within the U.S., limit our ability to protect our environment, and create more incentives for U.S. businesses to outsource investments and jobs overseas to countries with lower labor costs and standards.” She wants to adjust tax policies to support the growth of small business, punish corporations for outsourcing jobs overseas, and encourage green energy businesses to set up shop in the U.S.
- Affordable Housing: According to Gabbard, Hawaii has the highest living costs in the nation. She blames the rich for building and selling expensive homes, which don’t end up getting filled and waste space. Homelessness increased by 46 percent in two years. Gabbard said she wants to provide affordable housing, prevent houses from being “flipped and sold for profit,” and increase “flexibility to empower state and local housing agencies, as well as private owners/developers, to develop new housing units, and creating new housing options in areas where housing vouchers are difficult to use.”
- Gun Control: Gabbard pushed for more gun control in her political career, calling for the ban of what she calls military assault weapons and supporting “comprehensive pre-purchase background checks.”
- Abortion: On Nov 2013, Gabbard co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act, which sought to make certain restrictions on abortion practices illegal.
- Anti-LGBTQ Past: Gabbard released a video on Jan. 17 apologizing for her previous beliefs about the LGBTQ community. Gabbard used to work for her father’s organization, the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, back in the early 2000s, which fought in Hawaii against homosexual practices. She also opposed a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions in Hawaii in 2004.
- Speaking Out Against Radical Islamic Terrorism: During the Obama administration, Gabbard said she believed the Jihadist militant attacks in the middle east were a result of “radical Islamic terrorism.” Gabbard appeared in an interview with Wolf Blitzer in 2015 on CNN, sharing her frustration with former President Obama’s refusal to use term “radical Islam.” This could hurt her in the Democratic primary.
- Statements About Saudi Arabia: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, criticized Gabbard’s tweet profanely calling out President Trump’s continued support of Saudi Arabia, even after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Kinzinger pointed back to when Gabbard said she was doubtful about Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s involvement in the April 2017 gas attacks, which killed and injured many Syrian citizens.
This piece is part of our Election 2020 series. See below for more information on the most talked about Democrats challenging President Trump.