HANALEI — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard greeted around 20 North Shore constituents at a “Tulsi in Your Town” outreach at the Hanalei Community Center Tuesday.
Gabbard said today will mark her sixth month in office and that she is pleased her team has been able to accomplish so much in a short time.
This, despite an “off-kilter” leadership system where five individuals basically decide what amendments get attached to bills in committee, and what goes onto the floor for a vote.
Fern Rosentiel asked for Gabbard’s support with encouraging the County Council to continue its work to force the major seed grower companies on Kauai to release information about chemical mixing and use on the island.
“Does our county have a right to protect health and life?” she said.
“I would say absolutely,” Gabbard replied. “It is not only can we protect health and life, it is a responsibility.”
Gabbard said that with nearly 100 new members of Congress since last November, there are many who want to see a more open dialogue and the ability to debate a bill under the normal order. She is optimistic that the problem will be resolved because it effects both major parties. This system is what helped an important farm bill fail.
On the one hand, she said passage with her amendment would have meant support for research on invasive species effecting the Hawaiian coffee industry.
She voted no, however, because the final version dropped $20 billion in food stamp assistance for the most needy and placed unreasonable requirements on single mothers.
“As a result they are reintroducing the legislation in a different form without the harmful initiatives,” Gabbard said.
Gabbard enlisted her mother’s help in sending homemade macadamia nuts to members of the House and their staffs.
She said it helped to break the ice and people now reach out to her on the House floor.
Her goal is a Congress where there is more basic respect among members and an open dialogue and honest conversation with the ability to represent constituents interests without sacrificing them in the process of following party leadership.
Gabbard said she is enlisting states with aboriginal populations to support her Native Hawaiian Education Act legislation after funding was cut this year.