Tulsi Gabbard has a storied political and military background. With her past experience in both fields, she’s a solid choice for the primary ticket among the Democratic Party primary candidates.
The congresswoman is currently polling less than her political rivals, which caused her to miss the September debates, but is expected to make a fierce return for the upcoming debate this month. Gabbard has been outspoken in previous debates and isn’t afraid to call out her opponents. She called out fellow Democratic candidate Kamala Harris, saying people “suffered under her reign” as San Francisco district attorney.
At just 21 years old, Gabbard became the youngest legislator ever elected in Hawaii’s history and the youngest woman ever elected to a U.S. State Legislature. In 2003, while continuing to serve in the legislature, Gabbard enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in July of 2004 for a 12-month tour. Gabbard served as a specialist with the Medical Company, 29th Support Battalion, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and ended her deployment in 2005.
She was later deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009 and during her service, Gabbard received the prestigious Combat Medical Badge, which are only awarded to medical personnel who have actively performed their duty in combat, and is the medical equivalent to the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Gabbard’s platform is in line with some of the more current progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Some similarities include healthcare for all, ending the war on drugs and criminal justice reform.
Although Gabbard can be seen as a progressive candidate in some respects, she has been under fire for her past anti-LGBT activism. In the early 2000’s, Gabbard worked for her father’s anti-gay organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, that worked to pass a measure against same-sex marriage in Hawaii and promoted conversion therapy.
Gabbard has since apologized for her stance on the LGBT community.
“Over the years, I formed my own opinions based on my life experience that changed my views,” Gabbard tweeted. “At a personal level in having aloha, love, for all people, and ensuring that every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is treated equally under the law.”
Although Gabbard has been polling less than the top field of Democratic Candidates, she still has a legitimate shot at the candidacy with her past political and military background. Be sure to keep an eye out for her in the coming debates, as she’s almost guaranteed to be highly critical of her opponents, which always makes for an entertaining debate, whether we like it or not.