Tulsi Gabbard campaigns with Republican Yesli Vega in Virginia, June 10, 2017. (Screen capture from YouTube)
Washington: There was a buzz among Indian-American voters when Tulsi Gabbard, an Indian-American congresswoman, announced in early July that she would soon be running for president.
By then she was already an established political star and a rising media star in her own right.
Voters from large minority communities that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 were looking for a candidate who would represent their interests and speak to their concerns.
Gabbard was well suited to win the support of minority voters, particularly those in states where she didn’t go for Hillary Clinton.
She was not a white liberal; she was a progressive who supported the issues that mattered to Asian-Americans and other minority voters: gun safety, education, criminal justice.
She was a long-time military member and veteran of combat in two wars.
Gabbard was an Iraq War veteran, who served as an air force major in Iraq in 2007, when she was shot in the foot.
In a televised debate, she said it was an accident that took her to Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, after she was shot.
In the final moments of the debate, she asked, “What do you think it was, the left or the right who was responsible?”
After she retired from the military in November, she got an award from the US Army’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which presented her with a Bronze Star.
She is married to Brian Schwartz, who also served in the military and has served as a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps.
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to congress, speaks at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, June 9, 2017. (Screen captured from YouTube)
Gabbard, who is from Hawaii and was born in California