Mike Gabbard

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Mike Gabbard
Senator Mike Gabbard 2015 (cropped).jpg
Member of the Hawaii Senate
from the 20th district
Assumed office
Personal details
BornGerald Michael Gabbard
(1948-01-15) January 15, 1948 (age 70)
Fagatogo, American Samoa
Political partyDemocratic (2007–present), Republican (2000–2007)
Spouse(s)Carol Porter
Children5, including Tulsi
ProfessionHawaii state senator

Gerald Michael Gabbard (born January 15, 1948) is a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate, representing District 20. He has been a Senator since 2006. He has social conservative political views and rose to prominence for his successful effort to pass an amendment to the Constitution of Hawaii in 1998 to give the state legislature "the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples".[citation needed] He is also a businessman and musician.

Gabbard, who was born in American Samoa, is the first person of Samoan descent to serve in the Hawaii Senate.[1] Gabbard's daughter Tulsi is currently the Representative for Hawaii's 2nd district in the United States House of Representatives.

Life and pre-political career[edit]

Mike was the fourth of seven children born to Benjamin Harrison Gabbard, Jr. and Agnes Yandall Gabbard. He was born in Fagatogo, American Samoa January 15, 1948, and was a U.S. citizen from birth, because of his dad’s U.S. citizenship. In 1965, he graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in Shalimar, Florida. He received his BA degree in English from California’s Sonoma State University in 1971, and his master's degree in Adult Education with an emphasis in Community College Administration from Oregon State University in 1980. He and his wife Carol, who served from 2000 to 2004 on the Hawai'i State Board of Education, are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight.

In 1995, Mike Gabbard founded the nonprofit Stop Promoting Homosexuality America,[2] which filed for the trade name Alliance For Traditional Marriage, "to educate the general public about the necessity of preserving traditional marriage".[3] Gabbard served as president[4] until the organization's involuntary dissolution in 2004.[5] As of June 2011, Gabbard was still against same-sex marriage and civil unions.[6] Gabbard’s views on marriage have been evolving, as he noted in a Hawai'i State Senate floor speech, that government should get out of the marriage business altogether.[7]

In 1996 Mike co-founded with his daughter, Tulsi, Healthy Hawai'i Coalition (HHC), a non-profit group whose twofold purpose is to protect the environment and to improve individual and community health. HHC has been active in schools across the state of Hawai'i teaching watershed protection.

Shortly after 9/11/01, Mike became the founder/chairman of Stand Up For America, a non-profit educational organization that promotes patriotism and aims to "increase our awareness of our identity as citizens of one nation under God."[9] SUFA maintained public Christmas lights displays in 2004[10] and in 2006[11] that specifically celebrated the Christian origins of Christmas, "as a reminder of what the Christmas season is really all about."[10] The Stand Up For America website came under criticism in September 2010 for promoting Gabbard's daughter's campaign for the Honolulu City Council, and SUFA took down a page in question.[12]

In 2007, Mike co-founded the Aloha Parenting Project (APP) with his wife Carol. APP is a grassroots non-profit organization that educates, supports, and helps parents raise children to become responsible, productive members of our community.[citation needed] SUFA hosted internationally-renowned child psychologist John Rosemond at an APP event on November 6, 2007.[13]

Political career and related activities[edit]

Gabbard was elected to the Honolulu City Council in a nonpartisan race in 2002. In 2004, he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the Second Congressional District of Hawaii in the United States House of Representatives.

On March 21, 2006, Gabbard announced his plans to run for the Hawaii State Senate in West Oahu's District #19, a seat then held by 14-year incumbent Senator Brian Kanno. Kanno then decided not to run for reelection.[8] On November 7, 2006, Gabbard defeated retired Honolulu police captain George Yamamoto by a 56% to 44% margin to represent the district in the Hawaii State Senate. Gabbard was sworn in on January 17, 2007.[9]

On August 30, 2007, Gabbard switched from the Republican Party of Hawaii to the Democratic Party of Hawaii.[10] His stated reason for doing so was that he believed that he could be more effective to his constituents as part of the majority party in the State Senate, where Democrats have long had a supermajority.[11] This switch in parties has been of some controversy, including repeated complaints regarding his opposition to the Democratic Party of Hawai'i's platform, and possible actions that may impact other Democrats. Ultimately, the Democratic Party chose not to reprimand Gabbard.[12]

On November 2, 2010, Gabbard was re-elected for a second term in the Hawai'i State Senate after defeating Republican Aaron Bonar by a 74% to 26% margin.[citation needed] He was the Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee from 2009 to 2015, culminating with his leadership on the passage of a first-in-the-nation law to require Hawai`i utilities to get 100% of their electricity from clean renewable energy sources by 2045.

On November 6, 2012, Gabbard defeated Republican candidate, Dean Capelouto, to represent the newly reapportioned district, Hawaii State Senate District 20, by a margin of 72% to 28%.

During the 2016 election cycle, Gabbard was unopposed and was re-elected to the Hawaii State Senate for a 4-year term on November 8, 2016.

In 2016, he was Chair of the Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee and championed a law he authored that bans the sale of any part or product of endangered species, such as elephant ivory.

He's currently the Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee and is focused on increasing local food production, implementing his initiative to establish an industrial hemp pilot program under the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture, and protecting the environment.  In 2018, he championed first-in-the-world legislation to ban sunscreens that contain the dangerous chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate[13] and a first-in-the-nation law banning of the pesticide, chlorpyrifos.[14]

Since being elected in 2006, Gabbard has authored 36 bills that became law, including legislation related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, endangered species protection, industrial hemp, the environment, and public safety.


  1. ^ Sorensen, Sam (2008). "The Samoan Historical Calendar 1606–2008" (PDF). Office of the Governor American Samoa Government. p. 272. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  2. ^ State of Hawai'i Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (1995). "STOP PROMOTING HOMOSEXUALITY AMERICA*: DOMESTIC NONPROFIT CORPORATION: General info". Business Registration Division Online Services. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Purpose: A nonprofit corporation to stop promotion of homosexuality
  3. ^ State of Hawai'i Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (1995). "ALLIANCE FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE: TRADE NAME: General info". Business Registration Division Online Services. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Purpose: To educate the general public about the necessity of preserving traditional marriage
  4. ^ State of Hawai'i Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (1995). "STOP PROMOTING HOMOSEXUALITY AMERICA*: DOMESTIC NONPROFIT CORPORATION: Officers". Business Registration Division Online Services. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Gabbard, Mike – President/Director
  5. ^ State of Hawai'i Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (1995). "STOP PROMOTING HOMOSEXUALITY AMERICA*: DOMESTIC NONPROFIT CORPORATION: Other filings". Business Registration Division Online Services. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Sep 24, 2004 – Involuntary Dissolution
  6. ^ Rick Hamada (June 24, 2011). "5 Questions with NEWSmaker Senator Mike Gabbard". HawaiiReporter. YouTube. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  7. ^ "Hawaii State Senate Journal Regular Session 2011". Hawaii State Senate Journal Regular Session 2011.
  8. ^ DePledge, Derrick (May 5, 2006). "Kanno won't seek re-election to Senate". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "Gabbard Takes The Oath of Office at Hawaii State Senate". Press Releases. MikeGabbard.com. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  10. ^ "DePledge, Derrick (August 31, 2007) "Sen. Gabbard bolts GOP for Democratic Party," Honolulu Star-Advertiser retrieved 2018-10-16".
  11. ^ Au, Laurie (August 31, 2007), "Signing ceremony turns Gabbard into Democrat", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, retrieved 2009-04-28
  12. ^ DePledge, Derrick (August 10, 2013). "Oahu Democrats refuse to reprimand Sen. Mike Gabbard". Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "SB2571 SD2 HD2 CD1". July 6, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ "SB3095 SD1 HD1 CD1". June 14, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.

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