(MEDIA RELEASE—Washington D.C.)—Congressman Faleomavaega has congratulated Tulsi Gabbard on her election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Gabbard is the first Samoan-American congresswoman, sworn in at the opening of the 113th Congress, Jan, 3, 2013. She fills the seat for Hawaii’s Congressional District 2 vacated by Mazie Hirono who was recently elected to the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Daniel Akaka who is retiring at the end of current Congress.
“I am very proud of Tulsi and I congratulate her for her remarkable victory and election as the first ever Samoan woman elected to the U.S. Congress,” said Congressman Faleomavaega. “As we’re both natives of American Samoa, I thank Tulsi for her shining example to our Samoan community and Pacific Islanders as a motivated young leader, a military veteran, and a dedicated public servant. I also commend the Gabbard family for their living example of public service to the Samoan community and to the State of Hawai’i, and especially, Tulsi’s father, Mike Gabbard, who is also a forerunner, paving the way as the first person of Samoan descent to serve in the Hawaii State Senate.”
“Born in the village of Leloaloa, American Samoa to Carol and Mike Gabbard, Tulsi was later raised in Hawai’i. She went on to graduate with a degree in international business from Hawai’i Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and at the young age of 21, she became the youngest person elected to the Hawai’i State Legislature and the youngest woman in the U.S. elected to any state legislature," Faleomavaega notes. “Shortly after her political career debut, at age 23, Tulsi was Hawaii’s first elected official to voluntarily resign to go to war. She served in Iraq from 2004 to 2006 with the Hawai’i National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team. Again in 2008, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Tulsi deployed to Kuwait to assist in training the Kuwait National Guard. At age 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard, and in 2011, she was commissioned as a Captain in Hawaii’s National Guard.”
“I once again thank Tulsi for her example to our Samoan people. It is comforting to have another Samoan Member of Congress who is also intimately aware of American Samoa and the issues facing our people. I wish Tulsi the very best as she begins her service in the U.S. House of Representatives. I look forward to working with her in the coming years,” Faleomavaega said.