For the second time in a week, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard returned to the Garden Isle Tuesday, with a jam-packed schedule.
“I try to get back as often as possible,” the congresswoman said of Kauai. “(I) feel like I walk away with so much more than I landed with.”
The main focus of Gabbard’s trip home to the islands this month is education and economic opportunity. On Tuesday, she met with a number of Kauai educators and students, beginning with a visit to Hale Kula Niihau O Kekaha, a public-charter and immersion school on the island’s Westside.
The visit, she said, was “very, very moving and very special — both because of the greeting that each of the students gave me in the traditional way, but also how they are the direct recipients of the work in Washington that I’ve been doing.”
Children like them are the reason she and others work in Washington, she said.
After receiving an update on the school’s unique needs and priorities, Gabbard discussed the direct impact of her legislation to reauthorize the Native Hawaiian Education Act.
In a July 19 release, Gabbard said the act “ensures that native students across the country have resources to meet the unique cultural and language needs of these communities.”
Gabbard began her morning with a live, in-studio interview on KONG 93.5 with radio host Ron Wiley, followed by a trip to the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
There she received updates and a thorough briefing on the range’s three-year plan and the AEGIS Ashore missile defense facility, according to a release.
In the afternoon, Gabbard stopped by the Kauai Veterans Center for an interview with the Kauai High School Film Club, which is working on a video to raise awareness to the many challenges faced by veterans returning home to civilian life, including post traumatic stress, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.
Gabbard said she enjoyed sharing some of her own experiences in the National Guard with the film club students, who she described as passionate and committed.
During her two deployments to the Middle East, Gabbard said she witnessed the high cost of war, which forever changed the way she viewed life and freedom.
“I don’t care what your job is, you don’t go to war and come back the same person,” she said. “How it affects each person is different.”
Finally, Gabbard concluded her day with a tour of Kauai Community College, where she met with Chancellor Helen Cox, department heads and program representatives.
She visited KCC’s Electronics Building, the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Facility, the new Simulated Kitchens Facility and the Career Library, and learned about the school’s satellite partnerships with the PMRF.
“Kauai is a special place,” she said, just before boarding a plane back to Oahu.