Rep. Gabbard Announces Congressional Art Competition Finalists

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced twenty finalists in the 2020 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition and launched a People’s Choice contest on her official Facebook page, where the public can select their favorite pieces.

Each spring, the congresswoman sponsors the event to recognize and encourage creativity across Hawai‘i as part of a nationwide high school art competition with other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The entry with the most Likes and Loves in the People’s Choice contest on facebook.com/reptulsigabbard on Wednesday, May 27 at 6 p.m. HST will be featured as the cover photo at the top of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s official Facebook page, and the artist will win a cash prize.

“The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity every year to recognize the abilities of our budding artists and encourage them to pursue their talent further. I commend the educators and family members who support these students as they embrace their passion. You will be impressed and inspired by their talent and creativity,” said Congresswoman Gabbard.  

The winners of the district-wide competition will be announced in June in a virtual ceremony. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside winners from all other congressional districts. The second-place and third-place pieces will be hung in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Washington, DC and Hawaiʻi offices. All winners will be awarded with a cash prize.

2020 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists

Jenna Blevins, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Eleanore Carey, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Nina Corabi, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Tassyanna Dosier, Kalāheo High School, Oʻahu

Malia Gillin, Kalāheo High School, Oʻahu

Finn Hagan, Seabury Hall, Maui

Isabella Hutchinson, Kalāheo High School, Oʻahu

Farrah Marini, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Mele Rickards, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Heidi Roach, Island School, Kauaʻi

William Tyler Russell, Seabury Hal, Mauil

Kellen Sakaitani, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Faylin Sales, Seabury Hall, Maui

Rayna Shafter, Island School, Kauaʻi

Emily Smith, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Zoe Spikerman, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Erin Tanaka, Seabury Hall, Maui

Tyler Thomas, Parker School, Hawaiʻi Island

Sophia Van Derveer, Seabury Hall, Maui

Summer Wong, Seabury Hall, Maui

Rep. Gabbard Slams Trump Administration Move Denying Benefits to National Guardsmen Fighting Coronavirus

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issued the following statement in response to the reported news that the Trump Administration will implement a hard stop at 89 days of duty for over 40,000 National Guardsmen — just one day short of the 90-day threshold for qualifying for early retirement and education benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“Citizen-soldiers in the National Guard across the country answered the call to serve during a time of crisis, standing up to support overwhelmed federal, state, and local governments on the front lines in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In doing so, they leave their families behind and put their own well-being and lives at risk,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Rather than making a decision about when to end the activation of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen based on the public health needs of the American people, the Trump Administration has chosen the despicable path of intentionally cutting these servicemembers orders at 89 days just to pinch a few pennies by depriving them of the benefits they’ve earned and are guaranteed to them by law. This is a slap in the face to every servicemember and their families who sacrifice willingly and greatly to serve our states and our nation. President Trump must right this wrong and honor these servicemembers by making decisions about their service based on the needs of the American people, not the whims of bureaucrats.” 

Rep. Gabbard Hosting Telephone Town Hall to Provide Update on Crisis

On Wednesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. HT, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will host her next COVID-19 tele-town hall update from Washington, DC where she is returning for votes. In addition to covering the latest developments, including how Congressional emergency funds are supporting Hawai‘i, she will be joined by Shawna Lamothe and David A. Tucker II from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to give an update on the stimulus checks now making their way to individuals, as well as Sharlette Poe from the U.S. Census Bureau. Rep. Gabbard and her guests will field questions from callers. This will be the sixth of a weekly coronavirus-related live telephone town hall series Rep. Gabbard has hosted.

You can sign up on Rep. Gabbard’s website to receive a phone call to join the event.

Or, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has hosted five tele-town hall events, on March 18March 25April 1April 8, and April 15 to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as military commanders and community leaders to answer questions from across the state.

She created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sends out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.

Protecting and Providing for Americans During the Crisis

In early March, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.Res.897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.

In March and early April, she cosponsored H.Res.908, a resolution which draws attention to the increased anti-Asian bigotry being witnessed during the coronavirus crisis and calls on the Federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to confront and prosecute hate crimes related to this, as well as reached out to U.S. Departments/Agencies, Congressional Leaders, and mortgage lenders to urge them to take measures that respect the hardships faced by individuals and families during this pandemic including a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings and urging support for SNAP and WIC. She continues to call for direct support for those that are most in need in the relief bills before Congress, including farmers, ranchersmilitary familiesrural communitiesthose living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.

Rep. Gabbard has continued to work to make sure that much-needed medical supplies, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are readily available and recently sent a letter requesting that the Trump Administration prioritize working with our trading partners to ensure medical providers can obtain needed equipment quickly. She also sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services calling for the Departments to ensure access to PPE for essential childcare providers.

In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to support Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.

Securing Emergency Funding

To date, Congress has passed 3 emergency funding bills:

  • H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (on March 4)
  • H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (on March 14)
  • H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (on March 27)

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided urgently needed, immediate funds to help with the initial impact of the virus on America. She voted to pass this bill which included funds for 14 community health centers in Hawai‘i which received more than $750,000 combined in support.

Next, she voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.

The CARES Act includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. Though the bill included Rep. Gabbard’s idea for a direct benefit payment to support Americans reeling from the pandemic’s impact, it fell short of the full scope suggested in her legislation, H.Res.897, and she urged Congress to do more.

In the weeks following the passage of the CARES Act, Hawai‘i received over $142 million in emergency funds to help support healthcare providers. This included more than $10 million in additional funds to the 14 community health centers which received funds after the first emergency bill as well as $132 million to other healthcare providers across the State to help cover the costs they are incurring due to the crisis. However, this $132 million came with the stipulation that these healthcare providers may not engage in “surprise billing” of patients they have treated for COVID-19.

Also, Hawai‘i received over $107 million in funds through the CARES Act to support public transportation systems, community public health infrastructure, and housing for vulnerable communities by way of Federal Transit Authority grants, Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs), and the Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS program.

By mid-April, the CARES Act continued to yield funds for Hawai‘i, including an estimated $88 million for Educational purposes and over $133 million for its airports. The Educational funds will help support K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. This includes a separate fund of $154 million for the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Furthermore, FEMA announced another round of disaster relief funds, $100 million available to all 50 States and U.S. Territories which can apply for funding by April 28.

Calls for Preventative Measures

In early April, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for the resignation of Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Bruce Anderson and Dr. Sarah Park because of their repeated failures that put the health, lives and well-being of the people of Hawai‘i at risk. She added that should they refuse to step down, Governor Ige should fire them.

On March 21, Rep. Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus.

As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they could guarantee all passengers would be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.

Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.

Gabbard Calls For Self-Quarantine Of Arriving Travelers & Returning Residents

In response to the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) is calling upon Governor David Ige to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi, including both visitors and kamaʻāina returning home.

“The governor of California is predicting that they’ll have 25 million cases of coronavirus in the state of California alone within the next 8 weeks. That’s over 60% of California’s population. As we look at how to prevent visitors from bringing the coronavirus to Hawaiʻi, it’s not enough to just encourage people not to come to Hawaiʻi. It also doesn’t do much good to take people’s temperatures when they get here because people can be asymptomatic and be spreading the disease,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“While Governor Ige does not have the power to suspend flights, I’m calling on the Governor to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi. This is what is already being done in countries around the world — like Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and China’s capital city Beijing. Visitors will be monitored to make sure that they are adhering to the quarantine. If they are residents, then they will be in house quarantine, separate from their relatives or others who are in the home. And if they are visitors, they’ll be quarantined in their hotel room. This is an absolute necessity, and it will be a tremendous help in saving lives here in Hawaiʻi.”

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 Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Ban “Bump Stocks”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today supported bipartisan legislation as an original cosponsor to ban the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” and similar devices. The legislation would also make violation of the law a felony and allow for increased penalties for offenders through a review of federal sentencing guidelines.

“In the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, this bill is an important bipartisan measure that will ban devices that exploit loopholes in existing laws prohibiting automatic weapons. I urge my colleagues to take action and support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation. There is clearly more that Congress can and should do, like passing legislation that will require background checks to those seeking to purchase a gun, which the majority of Americans support. Bills like the one we are introducing today are an important first step to bringing people together around issues that best serve the safety and wellbeing of the American people,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: “Bump stocks” are devices that use a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to allow rapid fire at a rate mirroring that of a fully automatic weapon — 400 to 800 rounds a minute. These devices are legal, unregulated, widely available, and can be purchased online for as little as $100. Their sole purpose is to exacerbate the rate of fire.

The bipartisan legislation introduced today is supported by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, including Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Peter King (NY-2), Jared Polis (CO-2), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Robin Kelly (IL-2), Patrick Meehan (PA-7), Jacky Rosen (NV-3), Ed Royce (CA-39), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Chris Smith (NJ-4), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Erik Paulsen (MN-3), Ruben Kihuen (NV-4), Ryan Costello (PA-6), John Delaney (MD-6), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Gene Green (TX-29), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R.3947).

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 to Host Live Immigration Telephone Townhall with Hawaiʻi, National Experts

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live immigration-focused “telephone town hall” on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 4:00pm HST with local and national immigration experts from the ACLU Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition, and National Immigration Law Center.

The call will provide an update on immigration issues including DACA and federal immigration reform, give constituents an overview of resources Rep. Gabbard’s office can help with including Social Security, immigration and naturalization applications, passports and visas, and more, and provide constituents an opportunity to ask questions related to immigration.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, constituents living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at (808) 541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to participate:

  • To call in live at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Wednesday October 4 to be joined in to the call
  • To receive a pre-call reminder to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. You must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Presented with IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Government

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) yesterday received the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Salutes Award for Leadership in Government for her dedication to serving and empowering veterans. The award was presented at the first annual IAVA Salutes event that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership and courage while advocating on behalf of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Martha Raddatz of ABC News was recognized alongside Rep. Tulsi Gabbard with the IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, pictured with Allison Jaslow, Executive Director of IAVA; Martha Raddatz, ABC News; and Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IAVA, received the IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Government on Wednesday evening.

“As we observed the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks earlier this month, I was once again reminded how that fateful day changed our country and our lives. During my deployment to Iraq where I served in a medical unit, I questioned whether leaders in Washington truly understood the cost of war, and if they ever thought about those who truly pay the price. One of the major motivations for me to serve in Congress came from my experiences being deployed, and wanting to be in a position to make critical decisions regarding when to go to war, and just as importantly, when not to go to war, and to ensure the promise our country made to our veterans is upheld and honored. I am humbled to receive the IAVA Salutes Award, and I will continue to do my best to honor the service and sacrifices of my brothers and sisters in arms and their families,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“We were honored to have the opportunity to recognize Congresswoman Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and soldier in the National Guard. Congresswoman Gabbard consistently has the backs of IAVA members through her work in Congress, and is a steadfast advocate for national defense issues. Congresswoman Gabbard is an example of what our generation of veteran leaders can accomplish. She has been a critical leader in IAVA’s fight for increased recognition and services for women veterans, including serving as an original co-sponsor of the Deborah Sampson Act,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA.

Background:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard launched the bipartisan Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus in 2015 on the 12th Anniversary of the Iraq War. The caucus includes a bipartisan group of Members who have served in the military after 9/11, and who are dedicated to issues related to our newest generation of veterans.

Rep. Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a Major in the Army National Guard. Her 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.

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

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Visits Armenia on Congressional Delegation to Enhance U.S.-Armenian Economic, Humanitarian, and Security Ties

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) last week traveled to Armenia on an official, bipartisan diplomatic trip as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, and as a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, along with Armenian Assembly Co-Chair, Anthony Barsamian; Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., and Artsakh National Assembly Chairman, Ashot Ghoulian visited the “We Are Our Mountains” monument north of the capital city of Artsakh, Stepanakert.

In Armenia, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with President Sargsyan, Prime Minister Karapetyan, distinguished members of the Ministry, representatives from Armenia’s National Assembly, Americans of Armenian ancestry, and a wide range of business, academic, and community leaders to discuss areas of mutual interest to strengthen regional and national security efforts, enhance humanitarian assistance for refugees, build economic opportunities, learn about the ongoing conflict and struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and to pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard along with Reps. Frank Pallone, Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, and David Valadao met with President of Artsakh Republic, Bako Sahakyan to discuss a diplomatic, peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Last year, Hawaii’s State Legislature passed a resolution recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and previously, along with 46 other states, passed legislation formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and honoring its victims.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and other members of the bipartisan congressional delegation met with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, Ara Babloyan and other heads of Standing Committees to further cooperation and understanding between the governments of Armenia and the United States.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“I traveled to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh with a bipartisan group of congressional colleagues to hear and see firsthand the challenges and opportunities that exist within Armenia and the region, and identify areas of mutual interest and cooperation that will strengthen the security, economic, and cultural relationships that bind our two countries. Focusing on the priorities of a peaceful, sustainable, and secure region remains the key to deepening the American-Armenian relationship.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, along with other members of the congressional delegation, met with Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II to discuss the diplomatic resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“The resilience and courage I witnessed in the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh region who remain in an ongoing conflict over their independence, further demonstrates our shared values of freedom, democracy, and self-determination. We must support a diplomatic resolution to this ongoing conflict, such as what has been proposed by the Minsk Group (made up of the United States, France, and Russia), to allow for the people of  Nagorno-Karabakh to exercise their freedom and independence.

“One major issue that continues to be unresolved, is global recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide. It is unconscionable that the United States government still has not formally recognized and condemned the Armenian genocide.  I stand with Armenians in America and around the world in condemning the Armenian Genocide, and I call on my colleagues to adopt House Resolution 220 so we never forget, or repeat, the suffering endured by the Armenian people. 

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and colleagues met with the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan to hear firsthand about the challenges and opportunities of Armenia, and to identify areas of mutual interest and cooperation between Armenia and the United States.

“While there is much progress to be made within Armenia, the resilience of the Armenian people, their rich culture, values, and the depth of economic and academic investment I witnessed during my trip leaves me hopeful for the future of Armenia and the region.”

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 Recognized for Service and Contributions to the National Guard

Yesterday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) received the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). The award was presented at the 139th General Conference & Exhibition in Louisville, KY in recognition of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s distinguished legislative contributions to the National Guard.

“I’m truly grateful for the privilege of serving in the Hawaii Army National Guard, and in Congress, where in both capacities, I am focused on the safety and security of the people of Hawaii and our country.

“As we are witnessing the devastation being left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma, thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen from across the country are responding to the rescue, relief, and recovery efforts. These are every day Americans who have civilian jobs, are going to school, raising families, yet who maintain constant readiness and willingness to stand up at a moment’s notice to respond to disasters here at home, and to protect the nation when duty calls. I humbled to receive this award and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, will continue to do my best every day to honor those who serve our country and make sure they have what they need to continue serving the American people,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“Congresswoman Gabbard joins the ranks of exceptional Hawaii elected officials, like U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, who’ve worked diligently for the National Guard not just within their state but throughout the nation. Congresswoman Gabbard is the quintessential Soldier-Statesperson who ensures the National Guard continues to be Ready and Relevant within our States and the Nation,” said Major General Arthur “Joe” Logan, Hawaii’s State Adjutant General.

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 Addresses Newly-Activated Hawaiʻi Army Reserve Detachment; Kicks off 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta

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 addresses the newly-activated 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD)

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.

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.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Hawaiʻi Purple Heart Recipients at Official Medal Presentation Ceremony

At the Oʻahu Veterans Center today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Rainbow Chapter 483 (Honolulu) in honoring twelve recipients of the Purple Heart Medal at an official presentation ceremony.

The recipients, who included veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, were awarded the Purple Heart Medal by the Army for their wounds in combat, but never received a formal presentation of their medals, as is required by Army regulations. The congresswoman presented each honoree with the Purple Heart Medal and delivered remarks about the significance of the official presentation ceremony, the high cost of war and the critical importance of caring for our veterans when they return home from war.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Those making decisions about when and where to go to war often forget who pays the high price—our veterans who return home with wounds visible and invisible, our servicemembers on active duty, and their families. The veterans we recognized today have waited more than forty years for the recognition they have earned and deserve. Today’s ceremony closes the circle for these veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much.”

Addressing the recipients and their family members, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Today we honor you with a medal that none of you wanted or asked for, but that is earned by those who sacrifice most. You stand in the ranks of people like Hawaiʻi’s Senator Daniel Inouye, President John. F. Kennedy, and so many more. We honor you, as we do them, our nation’s most prominent and distinguished heroes.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Veterans Telephone Townhall with State, Federal Leaders

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live veterans-focused “telephone town hall” on Tuesday, July 25 at 4:00pm HST with Jennifer Gutowski, Director of the VA Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS); Karen Gooden, Director of the Honolulu Veterans Affairs Regional Office; and Ron Han, Director of the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS). The call will provide an opportunity for Hawaiʻi’s veterans, their families, and our community to get updates on veterans legislation being considered by Congress, receive an overview of resources for Hawaiʻi veterans, and ask state and federal leaders about veterans’ healthcare, benefits, services, and more.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, veterans living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework with the VA should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at 808-541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to register for this event:

  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Tuesday July 25
  • To receive a call reminding you to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR  Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration