HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard is taking a two-week break from the campaign trail to complete an active-duty assignment with the National Guard.
The Hawaii congresswoman made the announcement in an interview with CBS News.
“I’m stepping off of the campaign trail for a couple of weeks and putting on my Army uniform to go on a joint training exercise mission in Indonesia,” she said.
Gabbard is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served in Iraq in 2004. She also did a tour in Kuwait in 2008.
“I love our country. I love being able to serve our country in so many ways including as a soldier,” she said. “And so while some people are telling me, like gosh this is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can’t you find a way out of it? You know that’s not what this is about.”
On Sunday, she was back home in Hawaii and visited activists at Mauna Kea.
Protesters are blocking the access road to the summit, and have vowed to remain there until plans to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mountain are halted.
TMT supporters, meanwhile, say the $1.4 billion telescope will advance the science of astronomy considerably and mean a boost to the Big Island’s economy.
Gabbard said, “What is happening here is about so much more than just a telescope,” adding that it’s about maintaining sacred spaces.
Gabbard leaves for active duty on Wednesday.