Monday, August 30, 2004

If re-elected, state Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo would be unable to fulfill her legislative responsibilities while on active duty in Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Tamayo opts against

The isle Guard soldier remains on
the ballot for her legislative seat
as Iraq duty beckons


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

>> U.S. Department of Defense rules prohibit state Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo from running for re-election. A story on Page A3 in yesterday's paper incorrectly stated that the rules do not prohibit Tamayo from running.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.

State Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, a specialist in the Hawaii Army National Guard, announced yesterday that she will not campaign to keep her seat in the upcoming election because Defense Department rules prevent her from performing legislative responsibilities while on active duty.

But her name will remain on the ballot, and she could still be voted into office.

Tamayo (D, Waipahu-Ewa) is a member of the Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade, which was mobilized Aug. 16 for a year-long Iraq tour that is set to start in February.

"Since my goal is to actually be of service to my community, not just hold onto a legislative seat, I will not seek re-election to the state House," Tamayo said yesterday at a news conference at the state Capitol courtyard.

"If for some reason I am re-elected, my fellow legislators have assured me that they will cover for me -- that they will be involved in my district and make certain that the people of my district are well taken care of while I'm on active military duty and in Iraq."

The 23-year-old freshman Democrat was not selected for active duty, but volunteered to be sent to Iraq "because I felt it was my duty as a soldier and a friend to join them (her unit) in the service of our country."

She said when she signed up to serve overseas, she had already filed for re-election. State law only allows the removal of a candidate's name from the ballot within 24 hours of filing.

Tamayo's name will appear on Sept. 18 primary election ballots along with three other Democrats vying to represent her district: Genaro Bimbo, Rida Cabanilla and Gerald Vidal. The winner will face Republican Trevor Koch in the Nov. 2 general election.

Cabanilla, a major in the Army Reserve, told the Star-Bulletin earlier this month that Tamayo should pull out of the race because it would be impossible to represent her constituents from Iraq.

At that time, Tamayo was still planning to keep her seat in the state House.

Defense Department rules do not prohibit Tamayo from running for re-election: Her name is allowed to remain on the ballot, and she could be sworn into office and remain a legislator while in Iraq.

But, Tamayo said, she would not be allowed to do any legislative work. "This is unacceptable because my goal is to actually be of service," she said, "not just to hold onto my position."

Tamayo declined to answer reporters' questions yesterday about her decision, saying Defense Department rules prevent her from commenting on her legislative duties while on active duty.

She said she has not been campaigning since she has been activated, and "am now going through deployment-readiness training and am focusing on preparing to go to Iraq."

Tamayo would not say yesterday whether she plans to re-enter politics after returning from Iraq in 2006.

Hawaii Army National Guard
29th Infantry Brigade



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