This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Democratic Presidential Candidate and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
The fact that she was well informed, confident, personable, and engaging goes without saying. Those are characteristics that come through in her public appearances and it would be a waste of your time if that was the extent of my report.
What is worth saying is that Gabbard clearly came to town ready to listen, learn, and get to work.
Below are a few observations I made during my time with the Congresswoman and what makes her stand out from other candidates.
1. Congresswoman Gabbard attended a Saturday morning listening session in Blackstock, SC that was sponsored by the Rural and Black Caucuses of the South Carolina Democratic Party, even though she knew in advance that she would not be able to speak. In the midst of a campaign season with a crowded field of candidates, it is a rare politician who is willing to invest time with a group of black folks from rural South Carolina, especially when they don’t get to make a speech. Gabbard, however, was more than ready to sit back and listen. Which brings me to my second point…
2. Congresswoman Gabbard actually took notes. She had a well-worn notebook and she took her own copious notes. It was clear that this was more than going through the motions of posing for a photo op. She was finding real value in what was being said.
3. On Sunday she sat down with the Black Caucus and the Veterans Caucus for a lengthy one-on-one, no holds barred discussion. She did not hesitate in answering questions that covered the full spectrum of issues important to African American voters in South Carolina. She was knowledgeable and even recognized a similarity of conditions faced by African Americans and Native and Indigenous people.
4. Needless to say, that as a military vet she was well informed about issues of importance to South Carolina’s veterans.
5. She did not wear the pin that identifies congressional members but rather wore an American flag in her lapel. She is undoubtedly committed to our country. So much so that she left our meeting to go back to Washington, DC for her annual Army National Guard tour of duty. I thanked her for her service to our country.
Congresswoman Gabbard is working hard to increase her name recognition; and as she and other candidates continue to swing through the state, the Black Caucus encourages all Democrats to look carefully at all of them in this very important race.
Remember that it is the person who you believe understands the issues that are important to you and has the integrity to address those issues when president.