Tulsi in the News

  • Female Vets Say They'll Put Country First, Even On Capitol Hill

    As the war against the so-called Islamic State continues in the Middle East, political ads have for weeks been raising the specter of terrorism. And several congressional candidates with military experience say they're the ones who can best keep America safe. Many of them are women. Only five female veterans have ever served in Congress, but 11 are running for seats this year - the most ever.

    Just a few are running in competitive races, and Republican Wendy Rogers is one of them. Even if she never told you she spent 20 years in the military, you'd have a feeling.

    For starters, she's ridiculously fit at 60. She's getting her 3-year-old granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson exercising on the pull-up bar at her house. And while rolling through the Phoenix suburbs on bicycle to meet voters, Rogers will note that maintaining "aircraft control" is first and foremost.

    Rogers is a retired lieutenant colonel -- one of the Air Force's first 100 female pilots. And now, she's part of the biggest class of female veterans ever who are fighting for a seat in Congress. Back in the late '70s, 3 out of 4 members of Congress had served in the military. Now, it's down to 1 in 5. But the number of female veterans running for office has climbed since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This election, they're almost evenly divided by party.

    This year, Rogers is facing off against Democratic incumbent Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

    She campaigns as "Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers." Her license plate reads "AFPILOT." On her website, there are photos of her next to the military transports she flew. Rogers says there's a simple logic behind all this advertising.
    "You only have someone's attention for a few seconds, and imagery is very strong," Rogers explained, "and so if I evoke that image of an Air Force pilot, that will stick."

    Flagging her time in the Air Force isn't just a memory aide -- Rogers says a military background signals other qualities that might help on Capitol Hill. Like the ability to hear the other side, even if you don't always agree.

    "We in the military are taught to lead. But we are also taught to follow and listen. No matter who is on your air crew, for example, there is a valued input which might save your life," Rogers said.

    A Pew Research Center poll from May found military service to be the No. 1 trait people in both parties want to see in a president. And for female candidates especially, it has the added benefit of helping rebut any idea that they're not tough enough for elected office.

    Joni Ernst, who's running for U.S. Senate in Iowa, probably has the best shot at winning out of all of the female veterans running this year. She likes to mention she grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, but if anyone has lingering doubts about her toughness, Ernst will remind people that she commands the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard.

    But could more veterans actually change the tone in Washington? One of the first two female combat vets in Congress thinks so. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii says as tribal as political parties can be, the kinship people in the military share can transcend party lines.

    "Just taking that first step of putting country first, putting mission first, is one that many people are not willing to make," says Gabbard.

    And Gabbard says the kind of people who put country first in a war zone are also more likely to put country first -- rather than party -- on Capitol Hill.

  • Bipartisan demands grow for Ebola travel, visa restrictions from W. Africa

    An increasingly bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers are calling for President Obama to impose a travel and visa ban from Western African nations battling the Ebola virus.

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, joined a small but growing number of Democrats calling for Obama to suspend commercial flights from the West African nations afflicted with the virus. Gabbard also called on Obama to cut off visas for travelers from those countries, which include Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

    "Just look at the domino effect that just one sick person from West Africa has had," Gabbard said Friday. "We're still scrambling to deal with that episode. Just imagine the chaos that will occur if even more such sick individuals enter the country."

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has called for a travel ban, and three House Democrats added their names to an Oct. 8 letter to Obama, signed by 27 lawmakers, that tells the president "the United States needs to institute travel restrictions" to control spread of the Ebola virus.

    In the Senate, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sent Obama a letter demanding the president "immediately cease issuing visas to persons of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and to consider expanding this ban to other countries that may not have standards in place to properly screen travelers entering the United States."

    Obama has resisted a travel ban but on Friday appointed longtime aide Ron Klain as an Ebola czar who will coordinate the federal response.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants House appropriators to return to Washington and consider additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

    "While the interest in a travel ban is understandable, most in the scientific community believe it would dramatically weaken our ability to fight the disease at its source. Instead, we should be focusing on enhancing our domestic and international screening, strengthening our domestic protocols and ramping up our training of health professionals to stem the spread of the disease here in the United States, and ensuring that we are funding our public health agencies appropriately," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Friday.

    Gabbard criticized as "absurd" the Obama administration's argument U.S. travel routes must remain open to help treat the outbreak in Africa.

    Read the full article on WashingtonExaminer.com

  • 5 Questions with Tulsi

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took a quick break from the campaign trail recently to chat with Being808 about how she stays healthy.

    Gabbard, who is running for re-election to represent Hawaii’s second congressional district, told us she likes to mix up her workouts to keep them interesting and always tries to make time for surfing when she’s in the islands.

    What does your go-to workout entail?

  • What I learned surfing in Hawaii with the first Hindu congresswoman

    HONOLULU, Hawaii - The sun has yet to rise when Tulsi Gabbard pulls her car into a near-empty parking lot here on Oahu's windy eastern shore, walks toward the water and unfurls a yoga mat on the beach.
    As gently crashing waves break the morning stillness, the congresswoman stands straight and salutes the tip of the glowing sun as it rises into the clouds and flashes a light upon the water.

    For 30 minutes, she mediates in silence, shifting yoga positions while the sun rises higher in the sky.

    Washington is--and certainly feels--4,000 miles away.

Serving Hawaiʻi