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VIDEO: Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Congress to Protect Bristol Bay, Alaska

Tulsi Gabbard is calling for immediate action to put a stop to a dangerous move executed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump Administration. Unless the decision is overturned, thousands of jobs will be lost and an entire Alaskan watershed will be destroyed—killing the aquatic life within it and endangering the people who, for thousands of years, have depended on the fish and miles of streams, wetlands, and other habitats it supports.

Tulsi Gabbard, a lifelong environmentalist with a proven record of protecting our environment, explains the critical situation facing Bristol Bay, Alaska and calls on Congress to take action to protect it.

Nearly half of the world’s Sockeye Salmon comes from Bristol Bay, Alaska. Its watershed employs over 14,000 full-and part-time workers, generates $1.5 billion dollars in economic activity, and is home to 25 federally recognized tribal governments—many of whom have maintained a salmon-based culture and subsistence-based way of life for more than 4,000 years.

Yet the world’s most valuable salmon fishery is facing a direct threat by the very government agency given the job to protect it—the Environmental Protection Agency. Its newest administrator and Trump nominee, Scott Pruitt, recently held closed-door meetings with Canadian-owned mining company Pebble Limited Partnership about developing a copper and gold mine in Bristol Bay larger than Manhattan and nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Just over an hour after the meeting, Pruitt rescinded federal salmon protections in the area, opening the door for development and mining.

Despite numerous studies and historical data over the years that cite the ecological and economic importance of protecting Bristol Bay from mining project development, Pruitt has made it clear that he has no qualms with brokering deals at the expense of the American people and the planet.
To quote his own agency’s 2014 assessment, such a mine “would result in complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources,” and the loss of miles of streams, wetlands, and other habitats. In addition, the EPA calculated a 95% chance of spill, per pipeline, in 25 years, threatening “acute exposure to toxic water and chronic exposure to toxic sediment” to fish and invertebrates.

Along with the virtual destruction of these species and wetlands, this would poison the watershed and needlessly endanger the communities who have relied upon the Sockeye Salmon for sustenance for thousands of years. The cost of destroying thousands of jobs and decimating the environment and resources these communities rely on is too great to measure.

The economics of Bristol Bay are everything President Trump promised to protect: American workers supplying American families and businesses through American jobs.

Yet the president and his administration have demonstrated time and again that they are eager to put their friends and business partners’ interests and profit before the health and wellbeing of the American people.

Hawaiʻi and Alaska have long shared a special and unique relationship, working together across party lines for the wellbeing of our people. For decades, we’ve worked together to empower our native communities, promote our local economies, secure resources for our rural populations, and much more. Now, we must stand together again and urge our colleagues in Congress to join the fight to protect Bristol Bay and its irreplaceable resources before it is too late.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Congress to Support the POWER Act During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke on the House floor urging Congress to support survivors of domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and cosponsor the POWER Act (H.R. 1762).

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“Domestic violence often hides behind closed doors and drawn curtains, but the problem is very staggering. In my home state of Hawai‘i, 575 domestic violence survivors reach out to local organizations seeking help every single day. Their stories are heartbreaking and too often, even if they are temporarily removed from their abusive environment, they often return to that abuser.

“Survivors can seek legal protection from their abusers, but they aren’t likely to do so – or to be successful – unless they have a lawyer. Just 32% of victims successfully obtain a restraining order without legal representation. I call on my colleagues to support the POWER Act, which requires every state’s U.S. attorney to promote and expand pro-bono legal services, specifically for domestic violence survivors.

“We all need to be more conscious of this problem because it’s happening in our communities. As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let us have the courage to confront the pervasiveness of this crime and take action to help provide survivors with the safety and security that they need.”

Background:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, including supporting Maui’s Women Helping Women, passing Talia’s Law, praising the Hawai‘i Text-to-911 program, and more.

The Congresswoman is an original cosponsor of H.R. 1762, the POWER Act, which would help connect domestic violence survivors with legal representation. For more information on the economic benefits of providing legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, view the Institute for Policy Integrity Report, Supporting Survivors, here.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Visits Local Farm, Addresses Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United Convention

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today addressed the 7th Annual Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United (HFUU) Convention held at Kahumana Farms in Waiʻanae.

The congresswoman recognized the Hawaiʻi chapter’s achieving charter status with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and spoke about opportunities for Hawaiʻi in the upcoming 2018 farm bill, and her work to fight for funding for important grant programs that empower Hawaiʻi’s communities to live more sustainably, strengthen local and regional food systems, and empower those growing food to feed Hawaiʻi’s people, leveling the field, rather than more giveaways to big, agribusiness corporations.

The three day convention brings together members of the NFU, including NFU President Roger Johnson, NFU leadership from across the country, local farmers, small businessowners, and others to explore the concepts of Aloha ‘Aina and Malama ‘Aina to create regenerative agricultural systems for Hawaiʻi. This year’s conference includes panels and presentations on polyculture cover crops, agro ecology systems, soil and human health, hemp in Hawaiʻi, sustainable and organic farming, and much more.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “As a community, we have great potential for Hawaiʻi to empower our local farmers, strengthen our food security, secure funding for critical research, and empower our local communities through locally grown agriculture. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a rise in local farm-to-school programs, improved value of our coffee industries, and increased engagement among our local community to buy local and invest in community farming. There is much to be done to build on these successes, and events like today’s bring together all the necessary community components to make it happen.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Fights to Prevent the FCC From Dismantling Broadband Internet Standards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) signed a bicameral letter to urge Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai not to relax Internet broadband standards for millions of Americans across the country which would most adversely affect rural, tribal, and low-income communities. The FCC announced in a Notice of Inquiry that it would consider lowering the standards of broadband Internet access speeds from 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, while also classifying a mobile Internet connection as a suitable replacement for home broadband.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“It is indisputable that high-speed broadband Internet access is essential to succeed in today’s economy, and that rural, tribal and low-income communities already face significant obstacles to accessing 21st century jobs, training programs, and educational opportunities.  According to the FCC’s own 2016 report, 39 percent of rural Americans and 41 percent of tribal communities lack access to acceptable internet speeds, creating significant obstacles that often inhibit them from doing things like promoting their business, communicating with their families, and accessing education tools.  I’ve heard this firsthand from constituents in my district who live in very rural communities.  Often, the only access to the Internet for kids in school was through a parent’s wireless hotspot signal.

“The FCC should be looking at how to expand and strengthen the infrastructure and high-speed Internet in America’s rural, tribal and low-income communities.  By opting instead to lower the bar and redefine what constitutes an acceptable Internet connection, the FCC continues on its current trend towards favoring corporate interests over American consumers.  Should the FCC’s proposals move forward, they will create more obstacles for working Americans by putting them behind the technology curve.

“I firmly support the expansion of high-speed Internet access to rural and tribal areas, which is why I cosponsored H. Con. Res. 63, which calls for the availability of high-speed Internet for all Americans.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Immigration Telephone Townhall Draws Nearly 4,000 Across Hawaiʻi

Nearly 4,000 Hawaiʻi residents participated in Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s immigration-focused “telephone townhall” on Wednesday afternoon. Local and national guests included:

  • Mateo Caballero, Legal Director of ACLU Hawaiʻi and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition
  • Clare Hanusz, a Hawaiʻi immigration attorney and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition and the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant Rights
  • Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney & Field Coordinator at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

The congresswoman discussed the status of DACA and the need for Congress to urgently pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients. She also talked about the United States’ broken and outdated immigration system and the need for reforms, family reunification for WWII Filipino veterans in Hawaiʻi, her work to restore access to federal healthcare for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants, expanding access to federal immigration services on the neighbor islands, and more. She and her guests also answered questions on education rights for DREAMers, fees for naturalization, qualifications to receive DACA, backlogs on citizenship applications, rules regarding re-entry for foreign-born relatives of U.S. military personnel, and more.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The majority of Americans can trace their history through their relatives and ancestors who, against all odds and great difficulties, found their way to and made a home here in the U.S. But while our family histories remind us of how far we have come, the heartbreak and suffering faced by millions of families across the country due to our broken immigration system demonstrates the need for real reforms. Today, the lives of hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and friends are on hold as they wait for U.S. leaders to take action on DACA. Congress must take action to pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients, who are fearful they will be targeted and deported from the only home they’ve ever known. This telephone town hall was a great opportunity to engage with my constituents from every island across the state, answer their questions, and hear their concerns.  This is an issue that affects people in Hawaiʻi and all across the country in many unique and different ways. Rather than allowing the issue of immigration reform to divide us, let us work together in the spirit of aloha to bring about real, meaningful change.”

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office provide service to hundreds of Hawaiʻi residents every year to get assistance from U.S federal agencies, including United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and others. Her office can assist constituents with passports, visas, immigration and naturalization applications, Social Security claims, veterans benefits, and much more. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “casework staff office hours” to help residents with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming staff office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes for FAA Extension and Immediate Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted for H.R.3823, legislation that temporarily reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration, provides tax relief to those affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, extends critical health care provisions, and modernizes aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Emergency tax relief for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands comes after Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joined colleagues in delivering a letter to President Trump, urging the administration to immediately mobilize additional Department of Defense (DOD) resources for Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island recovery efforts.

“While this bill failed to extend key healthcare and education programs that will be expiring soon, it included critical measures that will ensure the FAA reauthorization is extended, stabilizes the National Flood Insurance Program, extends programs for Teaching Health Centers, strengthens Medicare, and protects diabetes treatment programs for Native Americans.

“Most critically, this bill provides tax relief to Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who saw their lives and livelihoods upended by Hurricane Maria, as well as those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Congress and the Administration must take further action to ensure those impacted get the relief and assistance they so desperately need,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Click to read full letter

House Passes Bipartisan Amendment to Appropriations Bill Cosponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Protect Against Property Seizures

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a bipartisan amendment to the appropriations package cosponsored by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) preventing police forces from seizing private property for profit without due process.

Known as adoptive forfeiture, the practice allows the federal government to accept money and property that has been seized by state law enforcement agencies from people, in some cases, before individuals are formally charged or proven guilty of a crime. This practice creates a loophole for states that have adopted stringent, constitutionally sound asset forfeiture laws and allows them to continue practices that are otherwise deemed illegal at the state level.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said: 

“Attorney General Sessions’ recent announcement to expand civil asset forfeiture allows local law enforcement to bypass state laws and seize property from people with the lowest possible burden of evidence without concern for whether the person is eventually charged or convicted. 

“While some will tell you this is necessary to go after big drug cartels, the reality is the median value of the adoptive forfeiture seizures is around $9,000. Not only is this median value not a sign of major drug trafficking operations, but seizures tend to be focused on poorer neighborhoods. Between 2012 and 2017, the median value of assets seized by Cook County police was just over $1,000; in Philadelphia in 2015, the median value was just $192.   

“This policy does not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty. Rather, this policy places the responsibility on private citizens to prove their innocence rather than put the appropriate burden on law enforcement to prove guilt. All too often, innocent people without legal representation never see their money or property again, and even those who are proven innocent have no promise their property will be returned. 

“The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution exists to protect the citizens of this country from being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In practice and in principle, adoptive forfeiture is a violation of that Fifth Amendment.”

Background: The practice of adoptive forfeiture was significantly drawn back during the Obama Administration and limited to exceptions related to public safety. However, Attorney General Sessions recently issued a policy directive reauthorizing adoptive forfeiture practices.  This decision marks a return to previous practices that run contrary to safeguarding civil liberties.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Send Federal Aid to Hurricane Victims, and Ensure the Government Remains Open

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted for H.R. 601, which provides over $15 billion in emergency federal aid to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and other extreme weather events throughout the country. This funding ensures FEMA can provide immediate emergency response and relief as well as longer-term recovery efforts. The bill also extends the federal debt limit and ensures that the government remains open and able to deliver services until December 8, 2017.

“National tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma test our country’s resolve. With today’s funding bill, Congress came together, putting the American people before partisanship and politics, to support the emergency response and recovery efforts serving the people most affected by these disasters.  Since Hurricane Harvey hit, we have seen the aloha spirit coming from people all across the country who have turned out to support those struggling in the wake of this disaster.  We are reminded that when one part of the country faces adversity, our nation comes together and perseveres. In the last week, we have witnessed compassion from neighbors, bravery from first responders, and responsiveness from public institutions. As communities in Texas and Louisiana begin the process of recovery and renewal, the entire country sends its thoughts, prayers, and support to the people of the Caribbean and Florida who are dealing with Hurricane Irma,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement On Trump Administration Decision To End DACA

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI -02) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stated:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.

“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses 25th Infantry

Today on Oʻahu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks at the 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) Activation Ceremony at Schofield Barracks and honored the unit’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gavin Tsuda, a native of Honolulu. The 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD is the only division level MCP-OD in the Army Reserve, and joins nine National Guard MCP-ODs across the country being assigned to active duty divisions in order to provide headquarters elements with the additional manpower for areas such as intelligence, operations and logistics.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “I’m grateful to have served Hawaiʻi and our country alongside LTC Tsuda, who personifies what it means to be a citizen soldier. As a soldier, he is known for his attention to detail, taking care of soldiers, upholding the highest standards, and mentoring junior soldiers to help them grow and better fulfill their own duties and assignments. As a civilian, he is committed to his community, and has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing for underserved communities in Hawaiʻi—a tremendous need in our state. As LTC Tsuda blazes a new trail as the first commander of the 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD, he will continue to set the bar high for this unit and its soldiers.”

Later in the day, the congresswoman kicked off the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta at its opening reception and honored the 2017 recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Leadership and Community Service Award—Assistant Race Director Natasha Haine and the late U.S. Congressman Mark Takai. The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call to serve, dedicating themselves to honoring and supporting our wounded warriors, their loved ones, and our Gold Star families. Past recipients of the award include Judge Edward Kubo, Marc Haine, Gervin Miyamoto, Darryl Wong, Penny Kalua, Liz Sabog, and Race Director Matthew McCarville.

“Each year, this event harnesses the healing power of the ocean and our supportive community as our veterans and their families continue to recover from the wounds of war both visible and invisible. As we gather here tonight, the search continues for five of our own who are still missing off our shores—a heart aching reminder of the risks our servicemembers take every single day, whether in training or in combat, as they put their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Our hearts are with them, their families, and our first responders,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The congresswoman will join wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and Hawaiʻi’s veteran community in paddling in the 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta off the shores of Fort DeRussy this Saturday.

Gabbard-Backed Bill to Expand, Extend GI Bill Signed Into Law

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, released the statement below after legislation she helped introduce to improve and extend GI Bill education benefits for veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents was signed into law today.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate unanimously, and is widely supported by veteran and education advocacy organizations, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Enlisted Association of The National Guard of The United States, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, the STEM Education Coalition, and others.

“Every single day, roughly 500 veterans are transitioning from military life to civilian life, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans who have returned home since 9/11 alone. We have a responsibility to ensure that our troops and veterans are set up for success in the 21st century economy when they lay down the uniform and transition to civilian life. This bipartisan legislation enhances existing benefits, expands eligibility, eliminates bureaucratic barriers, and empowers our troops, veterans and their dependents to get the quality education they’ve earned and deserve. More than 7,000 Hawaiʻi veterans used their earned education benefit to open the door to new opportunities for them and their families last year, and this law will help our next generation of service members to further build on this progress,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (H.R.3218) will apply to all new enlistees in the military, and will:

  • Remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline
  • Simplify the benefit for future service members by consolidating the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill into a single program over time, which would reduce the VA’s administrative costs
  • Provide significant increases in GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents
  • Provide 100% GI Bill eligibility to Post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients
  • Restore eligibility for service members whose school closes in the middle of a semester and create a pilot program that would pay for veterans to take certain high technology courses.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after North Korea’s recent successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test:

“North Korea’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test further demonstrates the extremely dangerous and growing threat that North Korea poses to Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and the mainland United States.  For the past fifteen years, our leaders have let the people of Hawaiʻi and our country down, allowing the situation in North Korea to worsen to this point of crisis where we are left with nothing but bad options. We must ensure we are able to defend against North Korea’s threat with cutting-edge missile defense technologies, but this is not enough. We must pursue serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize North Korea. However, U.S. leaders need to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against regime change. The Trump Administration would be far more credible in finding a diplomatic solution with North Korea if we weren’t currently waging a regime change war in Syria, and contemplating a regime change war in Iran.  

“The North Korean regime witnessed the regime change wars the U.S. led in Libya and Iraq and what we’re now doing in Syria, and fear they will become like Gadhafi who, after giving up his nuclear weapons program, was deposed by the United States.

“As long as the U.S. is waging regime change wars, we are far less likely to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea because they have no reason to believe our promises.  In fact, we are far more likely to see nuclear proliferation by countries like North Korea who see nuclear weapons as their only deterrent against regime change.

“Serious diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula will require an end to our regime change war in Syria and a public statement that the U.S. will not engage in regime change wars and nation-building overseas, including in Iran and North Korea. We should focus our limited resources on rebuilding our own country and seriously commit ourselves to de-escalating this dangerous stand-off with North Korea and negotiate a peaceful diplomatic solution.”

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Opening Session of the 2017 World Youth Congress

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) addressed hundreds of young leaders from Hawaiʻi and around the globe at the opening session of the 2017 World Youth Congress today. Inspired by the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa, the 2017 World Youth Congress will be addressing issues from the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress and exploring the theme “Reconnecting to our Ancestral Roots to build Sustainable Communities.”

In her remarks, the congresswoman spoke about how successful examples of sustainability throughout history, like the ahupuaʻa system developed by the Native Hawaiians, can continue to inspire policies and communities worldwide today. She also encouraged the delegates of the World Youth Congress and other attendees to continue the mission of the Hōkūleʻa—Mālama Honua—by finding ways to care for each other and the planet in their daily lives.

Addressing the delegates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Our ancestors taught us basic principles of sustainability and conservation—replenishing what we take, putting need over greed, and giving back to our home. These lessons gifted to us throughout history are just as timely and relevant now as ever before, and they must frame our path in the future.”

Background: Yesterday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard attended the Hōkūleʻa Homecoming Ceremony and Celebration at Magic Island, where she joined thousands of families, students, educators, sustainability organizations, ocean conservationists, voyaging waʻa groups, residents and visitors from around the world in welcoming the Hōkūleʻa, her sister Hikianalia, and their crew home to Hawaiʻi. The congresswoman will return to Washington, DC on Monday, June 19 for votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Tragic Orlando Shooting

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, released the following statement in remembrance of last year’s shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  She is an original co-sponsor of a resolution introduced in the House of Representatives today which commemorates the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida – June 12, 2016.

“On the one year anniversary of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting, we mourn the 49 innocent men and women who lost their lives, and our hearts go out to the survivors, friends, families, and the larger Orlando community. If there is any lesson to be learned from this injustice, it is that we must continue to fight to ensure the safety and equality of all people regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The 49 people who died in the shooting are Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Kimberly Morris, 37; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Amanda Alvear, 25; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Cory James Connell, 21; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28; Frank Hernandez, 27; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; and Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25.

Background:  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has a strong record advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. She has co-sponsored and supported civil rights and anti-LGBT discrimination legislation like the Respect for Marriage Act, the Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Equality Act, and the Equality for All Resolution. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, whose mission is to promote LGBT equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Joins Waiʻanae Community in Recognizing UFC Winners Holloway, Medeiros in Homecoming Celebration

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined community leaders and people across the Waiʻanae Coast to recognize Waiʻanae natives UFC Featherweight title-holder Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros for their victories at UFC 212 held on June 3, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At age twenty-five, Holloway has amassed the most career wins ever among competitors in his weight class, and his recent defeat of Jose Aldo—an athlete that has ruled the WEC and UFC for nearly a decade—earned him the title of undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion. Medeiros also brought home his fourteenth career win from Rio De Janeiro, defeating Erick Silva of Brazil.

Following a community parade from Nānākuli to Waiʻanae High School, the congresswoman presented Holloway and Medeiros with congressional certificates recognizing their achievements and their proud representation of Hawaiʻi to the world.Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The eyes of the world are on Waiʻanae as we proudly welcome home Max and Yancy after their victories at UFC 212. Both of these young men have made Hawaiʻi so proud, representing our state with courage, strength, and aloha.  Max and Yancy are not only champions in the octagon, they are also leaders in our community who take Hawaiʻi with them wherever they go, and who serve as mentors and role models to our keiki when they are here at home.  I join the people of Waiʻanae and all of Hawaiʻi in congratulating Max and Yancy, and wishing them continued success.”

The congresswoman will return to Washington, DC tonight to participate in the annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony in the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, and for votes in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Recognizes Maui Medical Professionals for National Nurses & Hospitals Week

In recognition of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 7-13), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, visited Maui Memorial Medical Center today to show her appreciation and support to nurses and other medical professionals who care for the people in our community. She toured the hospital, met with surgeons, doctors, nurses, staff, and held a Town Hall meeting with employees who gathered in the hospital auditorium for a congressional update and Q&A session.

“Nurses are the heart of our healthcare system, and I’ve introduced legislation to help recruit, train, and retain nurses, especially in our rural and underserved communities,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in her remarks to Maui Memorial Medical Center nurses and colleagues. “Thank you for what you do, for persevering, for taking care of people, and for being that heartbeat that keeps on serving the people of our community.”

In February, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the bipartisan Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R.959) to secure federal funding for education programs to help grow and support the nursing workforce in the United States. The legislation is endorsed by the American Nurses Association, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, and more than 50 other national nursing organizations.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Pass Bipartisan Funding Bill to Keep Government Open – Hawaii Gets…

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below after voting to pass a bipartisan funding bill to keep the government open through September 2017:

“Today we voted to keep the government open, avoiding a disastrous government shutdown, while also including funding for many Hawaiʻi priorities that I fought for. It included funding for the East-West Center, Native Hawaiian housing, healthcare, and education programs, critical environmental protections, and clean energy initiatives. As North Korea continues to increase its nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities, this bill increases funding for missile defense for Hawaiʻi to keep our communities protected. In addition, it includes provisions to allow COFA migrants to be treated at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi, and help ensure the federal government delivers on its promise to provide care to our COFA communities.

“In my recent tour of criminal justice facilities across Hawaiʻi, I saw firsthand how prison overcrowding has strained our resources and communities. This bill includes funding for initiatives to reduce recidivism like veteran treatment courts and the HOPE program that has had high success rates in Hawaiʻi. It also increases funding for key local law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

“As Hawaiʻi continues the process to open medical marijuana dispensaries, this bill included important language that specifies no federal funds may be used to stop states like Hawaiʻi from ‘implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.’

“From Flint, to Standing Rock, to Red Hill, it’s clear our water infrastructure nationwide is in dire need of investment and updates.  This bill invests in our clean water infrastructure, and includes funding for critical Hawaiʻi resources like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lāhainā Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed.

“Passing this bill with bipartisan support is a positive step, and shows what is possible when both parties come together to put the people of this country above partisan politics.”

Hawaiʻi will benefit from federal funding that includes:

  • $16.7 million for the East-West Center
  • $2 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program
  • $14.4 million for the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems program
  • $47.2 million for Native Hawaiian Education programs
  • $24.5 million for the Sea-based X-band (SBX) Radar at Pearl Harbor for the continued improvement of Hawaiʻi’s missile defense capabilities
  • $12 million for the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range (BARSTUR) on Kauaʻi
  • $3.194 million for agricultural education grants for Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Institutions
  • $222 million for the environmental restoration of formerly used defense sites, including the 117 sites in Hawaiʻi
  • $1.49 billion for community health centers nationwide, including 15 community health centers in Hawaiʻi
  • $6.5 million for the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, which helps prevent pollution of groundwater in rural communities in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which funds Hawaiʻi projects like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lahaina Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed
  • $617 million in Department of Justice grants that support law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $4 million to expand Project HOPE programs to reduce recidivism in new sites nationwide
  • $7 million for Veteran Treatment Courts in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • Includes language allowing for funds to be used for humanitarian assistance to COFA nations, and for patients from COFA nations to receive treatment at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi
  • The bill also specifies that no federal funds may be used with respect to any of a number of listed States, including Hawaiʻi, to “prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

More Than 1,000 Maui Residents Pour Into Castle Theater For Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Last Stop On Statewide Town Hall Tour

At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater last night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted her seventh Town Hall to an audience of more than 1,000 Maui residents, making it the largest of the crowds to gather for a stop on the congresswoman’s statewide tour between April 11-20. In total, more than 3,500 constituents from Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island participated in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Aloha Town Hall Tour” with many of the meetings having more than 30,000 viewers via Facebook Live.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “As we wrap up this Aloha Town Hall Tour that has brought together so many of us from communities across the entire state, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who took the time to come out, to listen, to share, and to ask questions—your kindness, your activism, and your aloha is what made these meetings so powerful and productive. Each of us has an opportunity to act with love and aloha, to respect others, and to work together despite any differences we have as we do our best to be of service to others.”

Issues of concern that came up on the Valley Isle tonight included online privacy rights and the congresswoman’s fight to stop Internet Service Providers from selling individuals’ internet browsing history without consent, Maui’s water infrastructure, overcrowding at the island’s prison, the need for more programs that assist inmates and reduce recidivism, criminal justice reform, decriminalizing marijuana, and access to truly affordable healthcare—not just health insurance. The audience expressed support for her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, her continued push to end the illegal regime change war in Syria, and her fight for peace.

Earlier today on Maui, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard participated in the Future Forum with her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D, CA-15) to address common issues facing millennials, the challenges of entering the work force, and solutions to exponentially increasing student debt. The congresswoman also visited the Maui Food Innovation Center, where she met with young entrepreneurs and UH Maui College students to discuss sustainable business practices and food security on the Valley Isle.

For more information, please contact Erika Tsuji at (808) 286-0803.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Hilo Town Hall Draws Largest Crowd Yet on Statewide Tour With More Than 600 East Hawaii Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) was in Hilo last night to host her fifth Town Hall in a series of seven statewide. More than 600 East Hawaiʻi residents attended the meeting at Waiakea High School—the largest crowd yet on the congresswoman’s Town Hall Tour across the islands. Many brought homemade signs showing their support for peace over escalating wars abroad. They expressed deep concern over the threat of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Hawaii’s preparedness, and also Trump’s recent illegal attack in Syria.

Residents asked Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a variety of questions from healthcare to decriminalizing marijuana to criminal justice reform, and many other issues that affect the people of Hawaiʻi. She was thanked for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, for cosponsoring “Medicare for All” legislation, and for her work to honor Filipino World War II Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The next stops on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Kauaʻi – Tonight, Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy, Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Commemorates Day of Valor, Honors Filipino Veterans

This morning at the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho delivered remarks to honor Filipino and Filipino-American veterans in commemoration of the 75th Ara Ng Kagitingan—The Day of Valor.  In her remarks, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard, shared the following:

“In 1942, over 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American soldiers were surrendered to the Japanese in what we now know as the Fall of Bataan. Despite the unimaginable hardship that they endured, these brave men fought relentlessly against their enemies without any outside support from either the Philippines or the United States. In total, around 21,000 soldiers lost their lives. The legacy and sacrifice of these heroes must never be forgotten. Nor can we forget the high cost of war and the lasting effects that inevitably define those who are touched by its reaches. Today, as we commemorate the Day of Valor, we honor all of our courageous warriors, as well as their families who have made tremendous sacrifices, and we give thanks for the great and lasting partnerships that were paved—truly—by these heroes.”

Today’s commemoration ceremony also celebrated the passage of landmark legislation, the Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, which was introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono to honor Filipino Veterans of World War II, as well as the launch of the Filipino-American Veterans Parole Program.

Transcript of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s remarks:

Aloha. Mabuhay. It’s wonderful to be back home here in Hawaii from Washington and to be able to spend this special morning with all of you.

As a veteran and someone who has spent a lot of time in the Philippines, and with many friends from there, I feel very much at home and amongst family here today. I appreciate you welcoming all of us to join you in recognizing this important Day of Valor and sharing why it is so important to reflect on this historical event, especially in this most special place and amongst courageous heroes of past and present.

In 1942, over 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American soldiers were surrendered to the Japanese in what we now know as the Fall of Bataan. Despite the unimaginable hardship that they endured, these brave men fought relentlessly against their enemies without any outside support from either the Philippines or the United States.

In total, around 21,000 soldiers lost their lives. The legacy and sacrifice of these heroes must never be forgotten. Nor can we forget the high cost of war and the lasting effects that inevitably define those who are touched by its reaches.

For decades, legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress to honor our Filipino Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal and, as you’ve heard, we were finally successful at obtaining this long overdue recognition—thanks in large part to the support and leadership of so many of you here today. Last Session, I was very proud, along with Senator Hirono, to reintroduce and finally pass this legislation, honoring our Filipino Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal Act, and see President Obama signed it into law in December, just before he left office.

It was a special thing to be able to share the stories and experiences of some of the Filipino veterans here today and their families with other members of Congress as we were seeking support to pass this legislation. In the House, where we have more than 435 members of Congress, we were able to get more than 300 of them to support and sponsor the legislation. It was wonderful to be able to talk with them on the House Floor, to share some of these stories with them, and to educate them about the storied history of these brave heroes who fought alongside our American soldiers—they deserve nothing but the highest honor.

So now, on behalf of the United States Congress, we can officially honor the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who served our country during World War II. These loyal and courageous soldiers served, suffered, and sacrificed—many paying that ultimate price—alongside their American counterparts throughout the war.

Though less than 18,000 of our Filipino WWII veterans are still alive today, some of whom are among us, this recognition is an important testament to each and every one of our veterans who earned and deserve their place amongst our greatest generation.

Today, as we commemorate the Day of Valor, we honor all of our courageous warriors, as well as their families who have made tremendous sacrifices, and we give thanks for the great and lasting partnerships that were paved—truly—by these heroes.

Annually, as we gather to honor this important Day of Valor, we recognize that it helps current and future generations to understand a little better the hardships and the values for which the ultimate sacrifice is made. And it inspires us to live our lives in a way that honors the values that they sacrificed for.

Here in Hawaii, we are a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and faiths, bound by a common thread of the aloha spirit.  The principles that guide us as we live aloha teach us to sincerely respect one another and come together with care, compassion, and love. So, let us remember these remarkable individuals and the driving forces of freedom, righteousness, and the desire for lasting peace that sustained their fighting souls. Thank you very much. Aloha.