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Mormons' Mitt falls short, but Hindus and Buddhists score political firsts

Published November 7, 2012 1:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

While Mormons mourn the failure of Mitt Romney to become the first Latter-day Saint in the White House, others are celebrating their own religious firsts.

Hawaii's Mazie Hirono will become the first Buddhist and the first Asian-American woman in the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, Tulsi Gabbard, who won her congressional race in Hawaii, will be the first Hindu to join the U.S. House.

Gabbard is a Democrat and "a practicing Hindu of the Vaishnava tradition," according to a release from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), and "campaigned on her experience as a former Honolulu city councilwoman and Iraq war veteran."

"That Gabbard won while proudly espousing her Hinduism and voicing a willingness to be a strong voice for Hindu Americans," Aseem Shukla, foundation co-founder and board member, said in a news release, "brings over 2 million Americans into the political landscape for the first time."

Gabbard will replace Hirono in the House.

Peggy Fletcher Stack