Tulsi Gabbord

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbord and Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Cal Whisler pictured during her visit to Monroe County.

By DAVE PAXTON

Editor and Publisher

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbord makes no bones about her world view. It comes from serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan with a Hawaii National Guard medical unit.

She sees Army service and leadership in almost everything she does. Even coming to heavily rural and heavily conservative Republican Monroe County. The visit to Monroe County where over 65 percent of the county is GOP and probably more who consider themselves conservative or libertarian wasn’t nearly as scary as fighting the Taliban, but she is one of only two Democrat Presidential candidates to take the time to listen and share her vision for the country.

“It is important to listen to everyone,” she said. “To reach out to everyone. I want to share a vision of unifying leadership, placing service above self.”

Gabbord is critical of the current state of politics, where profits and self service come before the good of the people. “I’d like to return us to the vision of Abraham Lincoln,” she said. “A country of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The 38-year-old Hawaiian Congresswoman is what many consider a “second tier” candidate since she was not one of the chosen 10 to participate in the last Democrat debate and she wasn’t invited to take part in the CNN eight-hour climate change forum. “I didn’t watch it,” she said flatly, when asked if she would fall into line with all of the other Democrats in near climate hysteria and how the positions would affect Iowa farmers and rural Americans in general.

She does believe that humans are in some measure contributing to climate change and that there are some reasonable things that can be done in terms of energy use, manufacturing and agriculture to reduce the human footprint on the climate. “It has become weaponized,” she said. “It is unfortunate the issue has become so divisive. There are multi-national abuses of the environment. On the other hand, not everything is due to changes in the climate.”

She would be, for instance, in favor of incentivizing farmers to do more to clean up the air and water.

Gabbord is just as concerned about the threat to American freedoms, particularly those attacking the First and Fourth Ammendments. “Kamala Harris said she wanted President Trump’s right to use Twitter taken away,” she said. “That’s wrong. I can’t support that. He has as much right to use Twitter as anyone else. There are people who either don’t understand or don’t care about our rights under the Constitution.”

She doesn’t exactly frame her argument for removing U.S. troops from the Middle East as that of agreeing with President Trump, but it is inescapable. “We share the same belief that our troops have been over there long enough,” she said. “I just wish he would get them out sooner. As a person who campaigned on getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s hard to understand why he has so many neo-con hawks surrounding him.”

For those who follow politics, her split with the DNC over her support for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, isn’t new news. But she said the media missed why she supported the old socialist over the ordained Clinton. “Hillary Clinton was a war hawk,” said Gabbord. “Sanders was the opposite. The media found my leaving as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee over supporting Bernie more spicey than the foreign policy reason driving me.”

She stands in line with virtually every other Democrat on abortion, suggesting her position is more libertarian than anything else. Government should not meddle in a person’s personal life. Her views on homosexual marriage and other LGBTQ issues have also evolved since 2012, six years after working with her father in 2004 for pro-traditional marriage causes..

A constitutional issue most other Democrat candidates support in some form, that of ridding the nation of the Electoral College, is also something she breaks rank on. “I think we need to reform the Electoral College, removing the winner take all element in it, but repealing it? No, that would only hurt states like Hawaii and Iowa.”

Gabbord was running late bumping into the time allotted, but there was much left to talk about with this Samoan, Hindu, U.S. Army veteran lady presidential candidate. She promised she would visit again.

She added that she had earned a right to rejoin the chaos that is the Democrat Presidential debate system.

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