Nov. 7, 2012 – 4:04 a.m.

113th Congress: Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii (2nd District)

Along with her history of military service, Tulsi Gabbard brings to Congress the “Aloha spirit”: respect for diversity and placing others ahead of oneself.

Gabbard views the loss of the “servant-leadership” mentality as the root of the problems in Congress and intends to be part of a new crop of lawmakers whose political style will be characterized by a willingness to work together. Asked to place herself on the political spectrum, Gabbard says, “Labels are tough. I avoid putting them on myself. Labels cause divisions. I’m open to listening and to finding the best solutions. I need to look at each issue and see what is in the interests of the people.”

Her priorities are getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, Wall Street regulation, and improving the economy, especially by engaging small businesses.

Gabbard, the youngest person ever elected to the Hawaii Legislature, hopes to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee. She would bring the multiculturalism of Hawaii and her military experience in the Middle East — she was deployed there twice — to bear. She is interested in the expanded role of troops in nation building and in influencing how the United States will position itself strategically.

An integral part of achieving her goals will be keeping in touch with the people back home and ensuring their involvement. Gabbard says that the more people are involved, the more they will understand how leaders can collaborate while maintaining ideals.