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From Hawaii to the Hill

The long-distance life of the 50th state’s freshman representative, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, one of the brightest new stars in a mostly lackluster Congress, yields some interesting numbers.
Gabbard is the first Hindu and American Samoan elected to Congress. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

178,784: Miles flown between Washington and Hawaii since her swearing-in on January 3, 2013. When Gabbard gets home, she says, “I literally drop my bags, put on my bathing suit, and go straight to the ocean.”

2: Number of deployments to the Middle East, including a year in Iraq starting in 2005 and ten months in Kuwait in 2008. “It completely changed my perspective on the fragility of life,” Gabbard says. Still active in Hawaii’s National Guard, she completes 39 days of training per year.

33: Gabbard’s age, making her the youngest woman in Congress. At 21, she became the youngest person ever elected to Hawaii’s House of Representatives.

8: Years her father, Mike Gabbard, has served as a Hawaii state senator.

6: Time difference in hours between Hawaii and Washington.

7: Number of House freshmen to get a bill through Congress in 2013. Gabbard introduced the Helping Heroes Fly Act, requiring the Transportation Security Administration to develop policies that protect the privacy of disabled veterans going through airport security.

6′ 1″: Length of her favorite surfboard. She owns three.

13: Number of Congress members who have represented Hawaii since it became a state in 1959. Gabbard is the fifth representative from the 2nd District.

179,000: Tons of sugar cane grown last year in her home district.

83: Gabbard’s personal best, at age 27, for number of pushups in two minutes in the Army Physical Fitness Test. Minimum for women in her age bracket: 17.

3: Liters of coconut water she drinks every week.

This article appears in the June 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

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