Tulsi Gabbard Handout

Tulsi Gabbard has broken a lot of records: she was the first American Samoan elected to Congress, she was the first elected Hindu, and she was one of two female combat veterans to join Congress in 2013. Congresswoman Gabbard, who represents Hawaii, sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, and was the also vice chair for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

But, she’s also cool, courageous and unapologetic in her defense of policies and practices she believes in—something of a rarity in the political dogma that grips many lawmakers.

In 2012, Gabbard was touted as a new, fresh face in the Democratic field, with top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer calling her, “an emerging star” and “wonderful,” respectively.

“You couldn’t get a better role model,” Representative Steve Israel, who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when Gabbard was first elected in 2012, said in an interview with The New York Times. “She reflected the diversity of the caucus and at the same time had amazing credibility on the issue of national security.”

Gabbard worked her way into the leadership of the DNC, where she publicly butted heads with the organization’s chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That was not the first, and likely won’t be the last, incident where Gabbard fights for what she believes to be right, even when it flies in the face of institutional structures.

In fact, Gabbard recently resigned from her position at the DNC in February to endorse Bernie Sanders.

“I think it’s most important for us as we look at our choices as to who our next commander-in-chief will be […] to recognize the necessity to have a commander in chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment,” she said.

Gabbard stands her ground on issues she believes in. Following the horrific terror attacks in Paris in November, Gabbard voted to tighten screening procedures for Syrian refugees looking to enter the United States, despite a veto threat by President Barack Obama against any such measure. At the time, she said, “my responsibility is to the people of Hawaii and the American people to stand up and fight for what is right and what is in the best interest of our country,” adding, “that has nothing to do with party politics.”

“I’d be dishonoring the memory of a lot of folks who I’ve served with who didn’t make it home if I didn’t stand up for what I believe is right and stand up and speak the truth,” Gabbard said in an interview.

Gabbard isn’t like everyone else; and is especially unlike many other politicians. Need proof? Just watch her ride a wave.

Watch the full YouTube videos credited above: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leaves DNC: ‘Far Too Much At Stake’ | Morning Joe via MSNBCTulsi Gabbard quits and endorses Bernie Sanders via CNNRep. Tulsi Gabbard on Charlie Rose via Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard – A day in DC via Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard Resigns As DNC Vice Chair, Endorses Bernie Sanders | Meet The Press via NBC News

Yasmeen Alamiri is a political reporter for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @Yalamiri
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