November 12th, 2012
12:56 PM ET
1 year ago

First Hindu elected to Congress

(CNN) – In an election that broke boundaries, Hawaii elected the nation's first practicing Hindu to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, who will represent the state's second district, told CNN Monday that her election "shows the respect, diversity and love and aloha that people have in Hawaii that would allow for something like this to happen."

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The 31-year-old Democrat said she will take her oath of office on the Hindu religious text Bhagavad Gita in January.

"I think it's a perfect time and a great time for Congress to start moving toward this representation on diversity and really this common ideal that regardless of what our differences might be, we all need to come together now to do what's best for the people," Gabbard said.

At 21, Gabbard was elected to the state legislature, making her Hawaii's youngest lawmaker. She will become one of the first female combat veterans in Congress, having served in Iraq for Hawaii's National Guard.

The congresswoman-elect, who easily won her race with over 80% of the vote, said the practice of yoga has acted as a "guiding light" and motivation throughout her life.

Gabbard joins fellow Hawaiian Mazie Hirono, the first Buddhist to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Twenty women will be in the U.S. Senate in January, including Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin, the first openly-gay senator.


Filed under: 2012 • Hawaii
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Did you hear that, righties? The sky is falling even more. First blacks and jews get elected, then Asians, then Muslims, now a Hindu and a Buddhist. I'm just waiting for them to start screaming about Christian culture disappearing, instead of celebrating the fact that we are fulfilling the promise and potential of our great nation. This is a wonderful thing.

    November 12, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. GEN. BETRAYUS....WHOOPS.....PETREUS

    This goes to show that this country is becoming more diverse. Republicans better wake up and hop on the diversity train.

    November 12, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Nancy

    best of luck!

    November 12, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Landmark events such as this just simply do not fit within the confabulated framework that the far right has constructed around the Republican party. I wish the Representative-Elect all the best, and hope everyone else does the same.

    November 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. An objective observer

    In diversity their is UNITY

    November 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Anand

    Congratulation to Congresswoman!!! She is a role model to millions of Hindus in US.

    November 12, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. BLKMANinAmerica

    Congrads, good to see America showing off the many diverse people that make up this country.

    November 12, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Fabulous news!

    November 12, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. cedar rapids

    Bet we still get gop fans slamming Obama for saying the US isnt just a christian nation.

    November 12, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Name Jagdat

    Way to go USA!
    As an American and Hindu , I am proud of her as I am proud of this great nation .
    God bless this veteran and all veterans .
    God bless the USA .

    November 12, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is nice to have more diversity in the Congress to reflect the country. I hope that she represents her district well.

    November 12, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. n, tx

    Congratulations to the congresswoman.

    November 12, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Helen

    While I'm honestly very happy for all the diversity of our nation, I must ask CNN about the designation "Hindu-American." Hinduism is a religion not an ethnic group. Would you say Catholic-American or Presbyterian-American? Most religious traditions are trans-national.

    November 12, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. J'cincinnati' redd

    We all as americans nomatter the political party should take pride in this.

    November 12, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. T.P.Thank

    Congratulations to American democracy! This is what makes America a great country– despite the many religious and
    ideological biases and prejudices in the diverse population.

    November 12, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. cashmeremafia

    Congratulations, well done!!

    November 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Helen:
    I found that nomenclature odd as well. Hindu-American.
    Either way congratulations to the congresswoman, and thank you for your service both on the battlefields and in the halls of congress.

    November 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. hubert39

    In SC Nikki Haley won a local house seat when she was a Sikh. When she ran for govenor the right wing conservatives/Tea Party said she had to change to the Chrisitan religion. She did. And won. When she leaves office she will go back to being a Sikh. Then their will be peace in her family.

    November 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Clarke

    Maybe in time she can become the first female President. I

    November 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. SoupVT

    Totally stoked for her, but really – It's sad that this is "news". This is basically how things should just "be".

    November 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Romney is NOT My Hero

    Uh oh, all this diversity will make the GOPers heads explode. I'm extremely proud that this country is finally showing signs of true growth. Those who fought and still continue to fight for the rights of ALL people should be proud as well.

    Congrats!

    November 12, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |