(CNN) — In an election that broke boundaries, Hawaii elected the nation’s first practicing Hindu to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, who will represent the state’s second district, told CNN Monday that her election “shows the respect, diversity and love and aloha that people have in Hawaii that would allow for something like this to happen.”
The 31-year-old Democrat said she will take her oath of office on the Hindu religious text Bhagavad Gita in January.
“I think it’s a perfect time and a great time for Congress to start moving toward this representation on diversity and really this common ideal that regardless of what our differences might be, we all need to come together now to do what’s best for the people,” Gabbard said.
At 21, Gabbard was elected to the state legislature, making her Hawaii’s youngest lawmaker. She will become one of the first female combat veterans in Congress, having served in Iraq for Hawaii’s National Guard.
The congresswoman-elect, who easily won her race with over 80% of the vote, said the practice of yoga has acted as a “guiding light” and motivation throughout her life.
Gabbard joins fellow Hawaiian Mazie Hirono, the first Buddhist to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Twenty women will be in the U.S. Senate in January, including Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin, the first openly-gay senator.
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