Tulsi Gabbard: How She Isn’t Making Hawaii Better

Dear Representative Gabbard,

I recently came across an article on Civil Beat mentioning that you are once again seeking mandatory labeling of GMOs.  It’s extremely saddening and disappointing to me that you are wanting to focus on this yet talk about sustainability.  You’ve chosen to stand with people like the Babes Against Biotech who have never farmed a day in their life or have any idea about what it takes to farm day after day, decade after decade.

Your staffer finally reached out to us and took a tour to learn about our farm and apparently, what she learned has not educated you on the issue of sustainability.  My dad’s farm would not be around if it weren’t for having access to every tool in the tool box.  His farm would have been gone 20 years ago.  It was because of research and biotechnology that he continues to farm along with my brother.  Your stance to force labeling only harms our farm and the many other papaya farms that exist today because of biotech.

Why do I say that a GMO label will harm the small farms? It’s pretty simple that you fail to disclose to the public the true intent of the law that seeks to penalize any type of mislabeling.  It also exempts certain instances from needing to labeling, which makes no sense if it’s a right to know. You also fail to disclose your own money ties to the organic and health food industry.  That industry claims that it’s the consumers’ right to know but then seek to use the label as a ban. 

I’ve heard your promises of making Hawaii better and it’s apparent that you’re not even following the news as to the real problems.  Despite trillions of GMO meals served local style, your focus is on making our food even more costly.  In the Civil Beat news today, there is an entire column focused on former locals seeking to come home to Hawaii but can’t afford to.  

Then there are lots of photos of all the homeless people filling our communities.  Is spending your taxpayer paid salary being put to good use to help your constituency? That GMO label isn’t going to make the local people’s way of living any better.  In fact, by ignoring the real problems, you are neglecting us in your district.

The greatest leaders of our country left us with lasting legacies of giving to others.  Abraham Lincoln fought against slavery which was not a popular stance to take.  Dan Inouye had a vision to make Hawaii the center of research with his work on the Pacific Basin Research Center and bringing in funding for UH research and other projects to keep us at the forefront of agricultural technologies. It appears that your legacy will be pandering to the Babes Against Biotech and getting a GMO label that makes living in Hawaii even more unattainable.  It’s sad and disturbing.

Your example and stance tells the world that this technology is somehow bad if it has to be labeled.  It hurts the poorest of farmers in developing countries from ever getting this technology that can reduce their pesticide exposure, grow more food, and actually make money for them to live better lives.  

It seems that you want to listen to well-fed people who need not farm and have plenty of time to petition you for this label.  Your elitist example tells our own poor that they are consuming something perceived as less nutritious and makes them feel bad about what they are eating.  

The most admired people in the world gave selflessly of themselves to help humanity.  It’s depressing that my own congresswoman is giving into selfish stances focused solely on the rights of people who have never faced a day of starvation or suffering.  Nor have you or any of the activists ever made a living off of farming but somehow feel entitled to take actions that disrespect their tireless work.  If you want more farmers and food, you have to listen to them first and foremost.  You as a leader have to be the bigger person and lead with fact and reason.  Don’t let fear and pandering be your legacy.


Joni Kamiya

The Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter


4 thoughts on “Tulsi Gabbard: How She Isn’t Making Hawaii Better

  1. I’m confused. What are your arguments against labeling? It seems to me that labeling is a good compromise, between the status quo and an outright ban, especially for raw ag products. I would assume that for papayas, it would just be a matter of putting on a small sticker that says “GMO”.

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