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Tulsi Gabbard at Barrington Lake Golf Club Restaurant

Joel Sherburne, who was at the event on New Year’s Day, is undecided, but he said he’s looking for someone that can beat Trump. He’s voted for Democrats and Republicans in the past, or as he said, “whoever I like.” There were a lot of undecided voters at the event, and although we don’t usually cover Presidential politics, we figured we should in this case since Representative Gabbard traveled to Barrington, New Hampshire to talk to us.

Her campaign brochure says “Our nation was founded on the principle that leaders should be motivated by a desire to serve the people, not their own selfish interests.” Tulsi’s Deputy Campaign Manager said she’s inspired by Tulsi’s leadership. She played guitar while singing some of the favorite campaign songs.

There were copies of the U.S. Constitution on the tables, distributed by, and the Hawaiian music was welcoming. There was no Secret Service presence because Tulsi hasn’t met the threshold of support required to receive a security detail, but being the first female combat veteran to run for president, she’s used to working in conditions that are far more hostile than that in a Barrington, New Hampshire restaurant.

Tulsi Gabbard first appeared behind the bar, briefly, shaking people’s hands, with a nice smile on her face. Abe, Tulsi’s husband, was brought up to the stage – and for the first time on the campaign they incorporated an audience percussion, having us clap and stomp to the music.

Trevor, the campaign’s new super-volunteer recently quit his job to volunteer for Tulsi’s campaign. He told a story about his family, having a deep military background, and he said although he’s never served in the military, serving on Tulsi’s campaign was the way he wanted to serve his country.

Tulsi Gabbard says she’s running for President to serve the interests of the people – not the interests of the rich and powerful, Big Pharma, war profiteers, and foreign governments. She said she’s inspired every day by people like Treavor, and she thanked John, the owner, for hosting the event. Tulsi said she came out to Barrington to hear what’s on our minds.

She spoke about the founding of the government and asked if anyone would think the founders would be proud of our government, today. Only two people raised their hands. Tulsi spoke about the influence of corporations in our government, while everyone else is struggling to survive. She said our voices need to be heard – at the ballot box.

“There’s gridlock in Washington”, she said, and that Congress passing a budget is seen as a major accomplishment, now. “We deserve better,” she said. Tulsi talked about how divided the country is now. She said, “we need to get back to the foundation”, referencing the U.S. Constitution.

Tulsi talked about growing up in Hawaii and leaving for basic training, and she explained the feeling of unity everyone felt in South Carolina when she went to serve this government. She said, “failure is not an option.” Tulsi called for unity, referencing the words of George Washington.

A freshman U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard had to learn how to bridge the divide with Republicans in Congress when she was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. She said she did this with food – with toffee. She had her mother cook 434 recipes of the toffee, one for each Representative, and 434 larger boxes for the staff of each Representative. The food opened the door to being able to reach out to every person, and Tulsi had a desire to work with every person in Congress. She said when she spoke to the other lawmakers, they knew she was telling the truth.

Tulsi said this is what she will bring to the White House. She said it would be pretty difficult to go to work and not have a conversation with other people. “A house divided against its self cannot stand,” she reiterated.

Tulsi Gabbard then told a story about someone who went to a bank to apply for a credit card, and that they were denied because they had too much debt in student loans. She said student debt should qualify for bankruptcy, and that educational interest rates should be reduced. She said education shouldn’t be a for-profit enterprise.

She said there should be more investments in technical colleges. Tulsi said she would establish relationships with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats when she’s in the White House. She said it’s about building relationships out of respect with people.

In Israel and Palestine, she’s been concerned about illegal occupations. She said this Administration has made it more difficult to get back to the negotiating table. She was also asked about what motivated her to be opposed to same-sex marriage at the beginning of her political career. Tulsi said she was raised in a way that affected her views, and that her work in Congress has changed those views.

Tulsi was asked if she could ever see coalition governments, like in Europe, in the United States. She said she hasn’t given much thought to it. She said people are limited to giving $2800 for the Primary Election, and $2800 for the General Election. But if someone wants to donate $10 Million to a political party, they can do that. Tulsi said the people that represent the government should really represent the people.

A registered Republican said that he’s going to change his party and vote for Tulsi, but he asked her about gun rights. She said we should uphold our 2nd Amendment Rights, and our kids shouldn’t be shot in schools. Tulsi said we never hear the names of the children that are shot in places like Chicago. She said there should not be guns in the hands of people that want to kill people.

Tulsi was asked about term limits and campaign finance law reform. She said those that are in power don’t question what put them in power. She spoke about Political Action Committees (PACs) that have told candidates in Congress that they need to accept their money to get re-elected, going against their constituents’ wishes. She said we need to look at Congressional staffers because they aren’t held to any standards currently, and if there were term limits, lobbyists would focus their efforts on them more so than the elected leaders as a backdoor into Congressional decision making.

She was also asked about the proxy war in the Middle East with Iran. She said it would be costlier than the Iraq war to go to war against Iran, and she’s highly concerned about it. She said Trump’s pullout from the Iran Nuclear Deal put us in a risky position. Tulsi said if the Administration connected Iran with al-Qaida, they would be able to go to war with Iran without Congressional approval.

Tulsi said there are a lot of tools that we can use to ensure that diplomacy is chosen over war. She said we’re paying $4 Billion a month in Afghanistan, which works out to $5.5 Million an hour, to prop up a corrupt government, and members of our own government have questioned it.

Tulsi said, “Foreign Policy is Domestic Policy,” and that we should not be making foreign policy decisions to benefit foreign countries, or specific defense contractors. She said we should be making foreign policy decisions to serve the people of the United States.

Barrington Town News got to ask Tulsi Gabbard two questions. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the audio recording, however from memory:

  • What would you do as President to reform the election process to prevent foreign interference in our democracy?

Tulsi said there’s a bill that she’s written in the House of Representatives that deals with election security that would require paper ballots as backups, in case there was a cyber-attack against our election system. I asked her if it’s on Mitch McConnell’s desk, and she said that another bill is, but hers is not. I asked her if the bill had been voted on, and she said no.

You can read more about Tulsi Gabbard’s positions on Election Security.

  • What would you do about the growing threats posed by China, such as with Artificial Intelligence competing with the U.S. interests, a growing Navy, and nuclear non-proliferation?

Tulsi said it’s not just an issue with China, but with Russia as well. She said that AI poses a real threat and that all these issues deal with Foreign Policy. I also asked her if she believed in a world without nuclear weapons, and she said she’s open to the idea, but she’s not naive about the threats posed by nuclear weapons, and she said working with China and Russia to work towards that goal would be a priority in her Administration. These views are widely supported by previous Press coverage.