Washington, Jan 12 (IANS) Hindu Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has announced that she will run for president in the 2020 election.
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” the Hawaii Democrat told CNN on Friday.
Gabbard, 37, an Iraq War veteran, currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of Congress.
“There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” she said, listing health care access, criminal justice reform and climate change as key platform issues.
“There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace… I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement.”
Rania Batrice, who was a deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is now a top aide to Gabbard, will be the campaign manager.
In 2015, Gabbard, then a vice-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was sharply critical of its then-chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for scheduling just six presidential debates during the 2016 primary election cycle.
She later resigned her post as DNC vice chair to become one of Sanders’ highest-profile supporters, aligning herself with his populist economic message, CNN reported.
Gabbard has staked out anti-interventionist foreign policy positions in Congress. Her 2017 meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad drew widespread criticism.
Gabbard joins a quickly growing field of Democrats eager to take on President Donald Trump for the presidency.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced on New Year’s Eve that she was forming an exploratory committee for a presidential run.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro also formed an exploratory committee and is expected to announce his 2020 plans on Saturday.
A number of other potential Democratic candidates, including heavyweights like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sanders, were currently weighing whether to run for president and are expected to announce their decision soon.