Tulsi Gabbard was born in Leloaloa, American Samoa in 1981, the fourth of five children. At the age of two, Tulsi and her family settled in Hawai’i where as a teenager, she co-founded the Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, a non-profit teaching children to take care of themselves and the environment. An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi ran for the Hawai’i State Legislature in 2002 and became the youngest person ever elected. A year later, Tulsi joined the Hawai’i National Guard to serve Hawaii’s citizens and our country.
In 2004, Tulsi voluntarily deployed to Iraq with her fellow Soldiers of the 29th Brigade eventually serving two tours of combat duty in the Middle East. Tulsi was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan’s Officer Candidate School, and was the first woman to ever receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second overseas tour. Tulsi continues to serve as a Captain in the Hawai’i National Guard’s 29th Brigade Combat Team. In between her two tours, Tulsi worked in the U.S. Senate as a legislative aide to Senator Daniel Akaka, where she advised the senator on energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veterans’ affairs.
In 2010, Tulsi ran for the Honolulu City Council and served as Chair of the Safety, Economic Development, and Government Affairs committee and Vice Chair of the Budget committee. Representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, Tulsi is one of the first two female combat veterans, first Hindu and first female of Samoan ancestry to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress.