Tulsi Gabbard, who created history in November by becoming the first Hindu-American to be elected to the US House of Representatives, has put her name for consideration for the Senate seat from Hawaii which fell vacant this month after the death of Daniel K Inouye.

Inouye, the second longest-serving Senator in the US history, was also the highest ranking Asian-American politician in US history. He died at the age of 88 on December 17, thus creating vacancy for the Senate seat from Hawaii.

“I place my name into consideration for the seat he (Inouye) filled so ably,” Gabbard said in a statement today.

“In the military, I learned that ‘leadership’ means raising your hand and volunteering for the tough, important assignments. Senator Inouye did that as a young man, and he inspired a generation of young soldiers like me. Now it is our responsibility to step up, for the good of Hawaii,” she said.

A day earlier, a group of eight national “next generation” leaders endorsed Gabbard and urged Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to nominate her for the Senate seat which has fallen vacant as a result of Inouye’s demise.

“At age 31, Tulsi Gabbard is solidly a member of the millennial generation, and is arguably the most inspiring new elected leader this country has produced. We are impressed to learn of her credentials, inspired by her story, and excited to see her have a larger national platform from which to lead, and to inspire this generation and our nation,” the leaders said in a statement.

According to Honalulu Star Advertiser, Governor Abercrombie is likely to announce Inouye’s replacement shortly.

Gabbard has joined a list of 14 Senate aspirants, including former Hawaii Representative Ed Case; State Lt Gov Brian Schatz who lost his 2006 bid for Congress; and Representative Colleen Hanabusa.

In a letter delivered prior to his death to Abercrombie, Inouye called it his “last wish” that Hanabusa be appointed as his successor.

If nominated, Gabbard would be the first Hindu ever to enter the United States Senate.

Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Dante Carpenter said the list of names of Senate aspirants would be released soon, when the party’s state central committee meets to select three names to forward to Abercrombie.

By law the Governor must make an appointment from the list of three names.

The November 6 general elections in the US also created history when Hawaii elected the first ever Buddhist Senator, Meiji Hirono who is of Japanese origin.

Under the Constitution, every US State has two Senators.

(This article was published on December 26, 2012)
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