And in what will likely be the last of these Know Your Candidate posts we put up before the Aug. 13 Hawaii Primary Election, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, just squeaks in under the deadline with her completed questionnaire.

First elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012, Gabbard-who is also a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and Iraq War veteran- has been an outspoken supporter of veterans issues and critic of U.S. military action in places like Iraq and Syria. She was also one of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' highest profile supporters. Though very popular statewide, she's found herself facing a primary challenger this year-Maui Democratic Party activist Shay Chan Hodges.

MAUITIME: What is your top priority if reelected?

TULSI GABBARD: Improving Hawaii's economy and creating jobs will always be one of my top priorities.  We must continue to support our local economy by providing tax credits for businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for more than six months; eliminate redundant and unnecessary bureaucracy and regulations that make it hard for entrepreneurs and small businesses to start and succeed; end tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs overseas; reduce payroll taxes for small business owners; and support legislation that provides more access and opportunity to capital for small business owners.

We must continue to ensure that Hawaii becomes the destination of choice for green energy startups, such as wind, solar, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave and biofuels technologies. We should provide tax breaks and other incentives for green and high technology businesses to locate here. Such industries not only provide good jobs for our people, but will help us achieve greater energy self-sufficiency. To increase our food production and build up our agricultural base, I continue to support tax breaks and incentives for small farmers so we are less dependent on food imports and move toward a truly sustainable future. I will continue to ensure our tax system incentivizes domestic job creators vs. those exporting jobs to other countries, and fight against destructive trade deals that benefit corporations on the backs of American workers who suffer as a result.

There's no shortage of important issues-including protecting the environment, healthcare for all, education, criminal justice reform, Social Security, jobs, veterans, campaign finance reform, and more. But there is one issue that impacts all the rest: If we continue to spend trillions of dollars on costly interventionist regime change wars, we will be unable to afford to make any real progress on these other issues that are so important to all of us.

I have been working to convince leaders in Washington that we must stop trying to be policemen of the world and instead focus our precious limited resources on investing in and rebuilding our nation and communities here at home. We simply cannot afford to do both.

To this end, I have introduced a bill to end the illegal counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and will continue to fight to end this war which has caused the deaths of over 400,000 Syrians, created millions of refugees, and strengthened ISIS and al-Qaeda.

MT: What event in your life best prepared you for public office?

TG: Growing up in Hawaii. From a young age, I learned the importance of living "aloha" and grew to understand that true happiness is found in serving others.  I've held this close to my heart and have tried to apply the principles of servant-leadership throughout my life, whether through my non-profit organization educating our keiki about environmental stewardship, my service with the Hawaii Army National Guard, or representing the people of Hawaii in the State Legislature, Honolulu City Council, or now in the United States Congress. In my life, I've found that the most effective way to work toward true progress and solutions is with aloha, a servant attitude, and a commitment to bringing people together around how best to be of service. Every day, I strive to work with this mindset.

Having served at all three levels of government, in the non-profit sector, as well as in our National Guard on two Middle East deployments, I bring a well-rounded wealth of experience to Congress.

As one of the few combat veterans to serve in Congress, I bring a unique voice of leadership based on firsthand experience to the decisions that Congress is charged to make with respect to authorizing a declaration of war, when and where our troops are sent into harm's way, honoring and serving our veterans, and ensuring our military is focused on the safety and security of the American people.

I love Hawaii and appreciate the specialness of the people and place we are so fortunate to call home. I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve the people of Hawaii these last four years, and am hopeful for the opportunity to continue that service.

MT: Who should be the next President of the United States?

TG: I wish it could be Bernie Sanders. I resigned my position as vice chair of the DNC so I could endorse and campaign for Bernie Sanders because I knew I could trust him as our commander in chief to have the courage and foresight to know when to use American military power and when not to use that power. I knew I could trust Bernie to end the illegal, counter-productive war in Syria and end a U.S. foreign policy supporting wars of intervention to achieve regime change. I knew I could trust Bernie Sanders to change the focus of our federal government from working for the special interests to working for the average American and our families, for our environment, and for those most in need of help.

I'm proud to have been a part of Bernie Sanders' historic campaign and was honored to place his name in nomination at the Democratic National Convention. Now, given the remaining choices, like Bernie Sanders, I'll be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. Moving forward, as a veteran and someone who knows firsthand the cost of war, I will continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars and lead our country down a path toward peace.

MT: Which person who previously held the office you're seeking do you hold up as a model? Why?

TG: Senator Dan Akaka and Congresswoman Patsy Mink. I had the honor of working with Senator Akaka in Washington and every day I remember how he embodied the aloha spirit--how he treated everyone he met, regardless of political party, social status, race, religion or any other external distinction, with respect and aloha.

Whether in Washington or anywhere Senator Akaka traveled in the world, he brought the spirit of aloha with him, he brought all of Hawaii with him and shared it with the world.

Congresswoman Patsy Mink is an inspiration to me for her selfless service and her courage. She was a fearless champion for the people. She was a voice for the little guy and was constantly fighting for the people, especially protecting working and poor families from an emerging corporate America.

She always stood up for what's right, even if it wasn't popular. She was one of the first legislators who fought against the establishment to end the Vietnam war at a time when most people supported the war.

Patsy Mink was a courageous fighter for equal rights for women's rights and equality for all citizens. She broke down long-standing barriers to create equal access to opportunities for women and girls, and courageously defied those who told her she couldn't succeed simply because she was a woman. In the 1940s, she was denied entrance to over a dozen medical schools for being a woman, but went on to attend law school and committed her entire life to changing the status quo.

Many women and girls, and countless others who have benefited from her unwavering fight for equality, owe a debt of gratitude to Hawaii's Patsy Mink. As a testament to the importance of her hallmark Title IX legislation, her legacy lives on in the millions of girls who today are guaranteed equal opportunities in education.

MT: What (if anything) should the U.S. Congress do to reduce gun violence?

TG: I've long called for reinstating a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity clips, requiring comprehensive pre-purchase background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, and making sure that terrorists are not allowed to buy guns. To this end, I am focused on building bipartisan solutions that can actually be passed into law, rather than using the issue as a partisan political football. Congress needs to move past partisan rancor and work together to get sensible legislation passed.

I have co-sponsored the following bills that regulate guns, among others:

* H.R. 1565 & H.R. 1217: Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 & 2015: To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.
* H.R. 2380: Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015: To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.
* H.R. 226: Keeping Guns from High Risk Individuals Act:  To prohibit the sale or other disposition of a firearm to, and the possession, shipment, transportation, or receipt of a firearm by, certain classes of high-risk individuals.
* H.R. 1745: Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for surrendering to authorities certain assault weapons.
* H.R. 5576: Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act: Prevent individuals on the "No-Fly" and selectee lists from legally purchasing firearms and explosives, while creating a process for American citizens and lawful permanent residents to appeal a denial in the federal court.

Congress also needs to address the underlying causes of gun violence in our country and work with local government to ameliorate those causes.

MT: What (if anything) should the nation be doing (that it isn't already doing) to alleviate climate change?

TG: As an island-state, we are particularly vulnerable and we must take the threat of climate change seriously.

On a positive note, Hawaii has quickly become a national and world leader in advancing renewable energy. In 2015, our state made huge strides when we became the first state in the country to establish a law to set a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Hawaii Island is already near 50 percent.

Our state is blessed with incredible renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal, which we must harness to leave fossil fuels behind. I will continue my work to ensure that Hawaii becomes the destination of choice for green energy startups, including wind, solar, renewable fuels, and hydroelectric energy technology. I'll support tax credits and other incentives for green and high technology businesses to locate in Hawaii.

In Congress, I'm advocating for our federal government to follow the path of Hawaii by adopting a federal standard for renewable energy in order to make this transition at a quicker pace. We should also continue to extend the wind production tax credit and solar investment tax credit to support the clean energy economy across our country.  We should eliminate federal subsidies of the vastly profitable fossil fuel industry and also allow the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with regulations that require coal-fueled power plants to lower their polluting emissions.

Divestment from fossil fuels is the way of the future, and I'm hopeful that more of our businesses, universities, and retirement systems will choose this path.

MT: In Strieff v Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled that police can keep evidence seized from stops made without reasonable suspicion if police find an even minor arrest warrant on the person stopped. Do you support this? Why or why not?

When I enlisted in the National Guard, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution. While on two deployments in the Middle East, I was proud to have served alongside many other men and women in uniform who have dedicated their lives to preserving our cherished freedoms. That's why I'm very disappointed in the US Supreme Court's decision in Strieff v Utah. Instead of protecting our civil liberties and democratic ideals, the Court's ruling erodes our Fourth Amendment rights by allowing police officers to stop and search any person without probable cause, and then use in court any evidence found, so long as the person is later discovered to have had an outstanding warrant, even for an unpaid traffic ticket.

I commend Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her dissenting opinion in this case. As a nation, we are fortunate that most police officers are dedicated public servants who work tirelessly to protect our communities. Unfortunately, racial profiling continues to exist, and this has created division between minority groups and police departments. Instead of treating everyone as a potential criminal, we should begin the healing process and work to create a better future for all Americans. As a member of Congress, I'll oppose any and all legislation, judicial decisions or policies that undermine our right to privacy.

MT: Do you support full legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?
 
I support the full legalization of marijuana on the federal level, as part of my overall effort toward criminal justice reform. There should be no federal laws against the use or sale of this substance, except that recreational marijuana use should be prohibited for minors, and minors should not be targeted in any way with marijuana-based products, packaging or advertising. I would also recommend similar standards on the state level, though that, of course, would be up to each state legislature to decide.

There is simply no good reason to penalize or imprison people for using a substance that scientists have found to be less dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol, and which in fact, has many medicinal benefits and uses.

We spend $80 billion annually to maintain our federal prisons, where nearly half of the inmate population is there for non-violent drug offenses. Two states, Washington and Colorado, have already legalized marijuana, and many other states are considering similar legislation. Despite these facts, and the steadily decreasing stigma attached to marijuana use, on average someone is arrested for marijuana possession every 37 seconds, mostly in poor and minority communities. Striking marijuana laws from the books would have the immediate beneficial effect of relieving our strained criminal justice system, freeing up clogged court calendars, and reducing prison overcrowding.

I voted in favor of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to prohibit the use of federal funds to prosecute people who are complying with their state medical marijuana laws. I also voted for the McClintock amendment, that would have eliminated funds the DEA uses to interfere with states that have legalized marijuana.

I favor continued funding for marijuana research and have co-sponsored legislation to allow greater access to medical marijuana, to include loosening Veterans Affairs restrictions and allowing qualified veterans access to medical marijuana. We can no longer ignore the growing body of evidence suggesting that marijuana has a wide variety of beneficial uses. Medicinally, it has been shown to prevent epileptic seizures, reduce anxiety, and even halt the growth of cancer cells.

I have also co-sponsored the Industrial Hemp Farming Act which would legalize industrial hemp.  While hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive ingredient THC. It produces an incredibly versatile fiber which can be used to make shoes, clothes, rope, paper, and construction materials.  Even the seeds of hemp are nutritious, containing a rich supply of proteins, vitamins, enzymes, and both Omega 3 and 6 essential fats. Incredibly, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world where industrial hemp production illegal. Yet, according to the Hemp Industry Association, about $500 million worth of hemp product is imported every year.

While it is true we are a nation of laws, those laws must conform to the standards of justice and common sense. The laws against marijuana are neither; it is long past time to throw them out.