Congresswoman goes surfing for interview instead of veterans hearing

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Congresswoman Picks Surfing Interview Over Veterans Hearing

In August, a Hawaii congresswoman missed a hearing about veterans care. Not really headline-making news, right?

Well, now a reporter is claiming U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was actually surfing when she was supposed to be at that hearing.

Chad Blair from the Honolulu Civil Beat reports although Gabbard's staff originally just said "an earlier commitment ran very late," it later acknowledged "she was instead tied up with a Yahoo News reporter in Waikiki where she was surfing for a video the news outlet was shooting."

Yahoo was interviewing Gabbard for a segment called "Extreme Recess," which looks at how U.S. representatives spend their time outside of D.C. Gabbard told them, "Every time I come home, my first stop is the ocean."

Now, we should point out the Yahoo interview isn't just about surfing. Gabbard also discusses the president's use of military action without a formal declaration of war from Congress and measures being taken to address problems with VA hospitals.

Tulsi Gabbard
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Congresswoman goes surfing for interview instead of veterans hearing
US Democratic Representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) on 'The Plight of Religious Minorities in India' on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 4, 2014. Several US lawmakers voiced concern for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing that critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections. With polls starting April 7 in the world's largest democracy, several activists testifying before the US Congress' human rights commission expressed fear for the treatment of Muslims and Christians if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becomes the next prime minister, as surveys predict. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
First Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, speaks at the unveiling ceremony of life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secaucus, NJ on May 31, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: Davan Gabbard (L), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (C) and Emily Tisch Sussman attend ELLE's annual Women in Washington Power List dinner hosted by Robbie Myers, ELLE Editor-in-Chief, with Gucci at Villa Firenze, the home of the Italian Ambassador, on March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Elle)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington D.C., Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends news conference with democratic freshmen members-elect, in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, talks with Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC, before the Congressional Women's Softball game that pits Congresswomen against female journalists at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill. The reporters prevailed in a 11-8 victory. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition that helps young women with breast cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEB. 01, 2012: Tulsi Gabbard interviewed at Roll Call in Washington D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call Photos)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, stands for a ceremonial photo with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol after the new 113th Congress convened on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Washington. The official oath of office for all members of the House was administered earlier in the House chamber. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, right, congratulates candidate Tulsi Gabbard after both women won their Hawaii Congressional district seats at the Japanese Cultural Center in Honolulu. Gabbard, 31, is the first Hindu to win an election for Congress, where she will also be the first member born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa (which is represented by a non-voting delegate). Gabbard became the state’s youngest-ever legislator at 21 before resigning to serve in Iraq. After beating a former Honolulu mayor in a Democratic primary, she spoke at this year’s Democratic National Convention. Gabbard is not of Indian heritage. Her mother converted to Hinduism and raised her in the Vaishnava tradition. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
FILE - In this April 21, 2006 file photo, Tulsi Gabbard is seen on a beach near Waikiki in Honolulu. After more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dozens of military veterans _ Republicans and Democrats _ are running for Congress this election year as voters have shown a fresh enthusiasm for candidates with no elected experience. This year, as the military has opened more jobs to women closer to the front lines, several of those veterans are females with battlefield scars and pioneering accomplishments. (AP Photo/Lucy Pemoni, File)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR JUSTICE FOR VETS - Former "West Wing" actress and new Justice For Vets Senior Director Melissa Fitzgerald, left, presents combat veteran Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) with the Justice For Vets Congressional Leadership Award at the inaugural Justice For Vets Veterans Treatment Court conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for Justice For Vets)

According to her website, Gabbard served two tours of combat duty in the Middle East and remains part of the Hawai'i National Guard.

Because of this, it's no surprise Gabbard is passionate about the issues veterans face.

Which is why many were stunned when she failed to show up for that August hearing, reported to be "the first Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on veterans' health issues outside of Washington, D.C. since the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Phoenix scandal broke."

Gabbard's press secretary told the Honolulu Civil Beat that the Yahoo interview got started late because the reporter was stuck in traffic and that the hearing would have been almost over by the time the congresswoman would've arrived.

Gabbard has not made any comment yet herself, but her press secretary says her staff is currently looking into its scheduling process.

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