Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Democrat, Hawaii

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is the nation’s first Hindu federal lawmaker and also a renowned surfer. But anyone who thinks they’re dealing with a spaced-out nirvana chaser is due for a serious shock: Gabbard, 33, is a decorated combat veteran (two tours in Iraq as a volunteer).
In her career, Gabbard has racked up lots of records and firsts: youngest person ever elected to Hawaii’s legislature (21, in 2002), first woman to be named Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan’s Officer Candidate School, first woman to receive an award of appreciation from the military of Kuwait, first Hindu and one of the first two female combat veterans to serve in the House of Representatives.
While in the House, and in the minority party, Gabbard nonetheless helped organize dozens of her colleagues from both parties to sign a letter in support of provider agreements in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Expanding veteran access to extended care services from local providers could not come at a better time,” she says in the letter.
And so say providers in Hawaii.
“Congresswoman Gabbard is a champion for veterans and improving access to health care, and we appreciate her immediate partnership with AHCA and sponsorship of the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to do this for veterans across the country,” Healthcare Association of Hawaii Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rachael Wong says.