Who Is Tulsi Gabbard?

House member Tulsi Gabbard has represented Hawaii’s 2nd district since 2012. The Hawaii Army National Guard sent Gabbard to Iraq (2004–2005) and Kuwait (2008–2009), making her one of the first Hindu congresswomen to fight.

Gabbard resigned as Democratic National Committee vice chair in 2016 due to differences and her desire to support Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. A veteran’s rights advocate and opponent of U.S. military interventionism, Gabbard declared her 2020 Democratic presidential bid in February 2019 before withdrawing in March 2020.

Early life and education

Gabbard was born in Tutuila, American Samoa’s main island, on April 12, 1981, in Leloaloa, Maʻopūtasi County. The fourth of five children of Carol (née Porter) Gabbard and Mike Gabbard. The Gabbards moved to Hawaii in 1983, when Gabbard was two years old.

Gabbard was raised in a multicultural family of European and Samoan descent.  Mother was born in Indiana, raised in Michigan. Her father, of Samoan and European origin, was born in American Samoa and raised in Hawaii and Florida.

Every child of Gabbard’s Hindu mother has Hindu names. Hindus believe holy basil, which Gabbard’s given name is “Tulasi” in Sanskrit, is an earthly manifestation of Tulasi. 

Vaishnava Hinduism and the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF), a breakaway group of ISKCON, shaped her upbringing. She called SIF head Mr. Butler a Vaishnava Hindu preacher and guide. Some reports say Gabbard was homeschooled through high school save for two years in a Philippine all-girls SIF boarding school. Gabbard became Hindu as a teen.

Personal Life

Gabbard married Eduardo Tamayo 2002–2006. Her Vedic wedding to cinematographer Abraham Williams was in 2015.

Military Bio

Tulsi is an Army National Guard Major after two Middle East tours. Tulsi was a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company in a field medical unit at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq for 12 months in 2005. The Meritorious Service Medal was hers after this deployment.

Tulsi assisted Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) on energy independence, homeland security, the environment, and veterans between her two tours. 

In 2007, while working for Senator Akaka, Tulsi graduated from the Alabama Military Academy’s Accelerated Officer Candidate School as the Academy’s first female distinguished honour graduate in 50 years. As a Second Lieutenant, Tulsi rejoined the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard as the Military Police Platoon Leader.

What are Tulsi Gabbard’s political successes?

  • Gabbard is one of two female war veterans in Congress and its first Hindu member. 
  • She became Hawaii’s youngest woman state legislator aged 21 when she was elected to represent West Oahu.
  • Gabbard became DNC vice chair in 2013.

How is Tulsi Gabbard viewed by voters compared to the competition?

Insider has done several polls to compare these contenders. One poll questioned respondents to rank the candidates’ left and right positions. Gabbard was usually considered a centrist contender. He was one of the less experienced candidates when we asked respondents to rate the candidates based on their public service and government experience to determine how equipped they were for the president. Gabbard was not as liked as other candidates, probably because of her low profile.

Democratic voters’ opinions on Tulsi Gabbard’s qualifications?

Polling by Insider shows voter opinions on candidate qualifications. We asked respondents if a list of qualifications made them more or less likely to vote for a president.

For instance, 19% of Democratic primary voters said a candidate being a college professor made them more inclined to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely, for a +15% net favorability. Then we can compare candidates’ resumes to those preferences.

Her House of Representatives position (+30%), age 50 or under (+23%), and military veteran status (+17%) are valued.

Could Tulsi Gabbard beat President Trump?

In Insider’s ongoing poll, Tulsi Gabbard is considered a weaker general election candidate against Donald Trump than the rest.

Gabbard has yet to make an impact on the great majority of voters, and three times more Democrats who knew her thought she would lose than thought she would win. Politicians consider this poor performance.

Presidential Platform and Policies 2020

The Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden were the leading candidates in the 2020 US presidential election. Each candidate ran on policies and platforms. Below are their main platform and policies:

  • Foreign Policy
  • Criminal Justice
  • Healthcare
  • Climate Change
  • Immigration

Tulsi Gabbard Net Worth 

Gabbard raised $1.6 million in Q2 2019 and $5.6 million overall. Her campaign hasn’t published third-quarter fundraising numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Tulsi Gabbard—who? 

Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard served from 2012 to 2021. She was the first Hindu Congresswoman and female war veteran. She sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Q. Tulsi Gabbard’s political achievements? 

Gabbard became the youngest woman elected to the Hawaii State House aged 21. She was DNC vice chair in 2013. A Hindu and one of the first female war veterans in Congress.

Q. How do voters see Tulsi Gabbard versus the competition? 

Voters position Gabbard differently. Some consider her a centrist, while others consider her inexperienced as president. She ranks lower in likability, probably due to her limited profile.

Q. Democratic voters’ opinions on Tulsi Gabbard’s qualifications? 

Some Democrats like Tulsi Gabbard’s qualifications. Her age, House of Representatives position, and military service are valued.

Q. Could Tulsi Gabbard defeat Trump? 

Polling showed Gabbard was weaker than other Democratic candidates in a general election against Donald Trump. Please note that this estimate was made early in the 2020 presidential election.

Q. What were Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 Presidential Platform policies?

Anti-interventionist foreign policy was Gabbard’s trademark. She called for U.S. withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan and opposed “regime change wars.” She also stressed the importance of prioritising health, education, and infrastructure before defence.


Tulsi Gabbard is unique in American politics for her military service, progressive ideas, and support for less interventionist foreign policy. She was one of the first female war veterans in Congress and the first Hindu member, but her 2020 presidential campaign struggled due to voter perception. Gabbard is still a prominent politician due to her foreign policy views.

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