Tulsi Gabbard (/ˈtʌlsi ˈɡæbərd/; born April 12, 1981) is an American politician and United States Army Reserve officer who serves as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. Elected in 2012, she is the first Hindu member of Congress, and also the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election.
In 2002, Gabbard was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives. Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and was deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009 as an Army Military Police platoon leader. She was a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2013 to 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Gabbard supports a Medicare for All health care plan she calls “Single Payer Plus,” and strengthening Roe v. Wade by codifying it into federal law. Her position has evolved on the issue and she now believes that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare”, although it is not a choice she would personally make. She co-sponsored the Family Act for paid family and medical leave, and endorsed universal basic income. Until 2004, she voted and lobbied against same-sex marriage in Hawaii. She publicly apologized for that position in 2012. She apologized again after launching her presidential campaign in 2019. She opposes military interventionism, although she has called herself a “hawk” on terrorism. Her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and her skeptical approach to two claims that he had used chemical weapons were controversial.
In 2020, Gabbard was the first female combat veteran to run for president. On March 19, 2020, Gabbard dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. She had already withdrawn from her U.S. House re-election race during her presidential campaign.