Iraq War veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard officially announces 2020 candidacy

Elizabeth Howe
January 12, 2019 - 7:42 pm

Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth

Democratic representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard stated that later this week she will officially announce her candidacy for president in the 2020 election. She joins Army veteran Richard Ojeda as the second veteran to file for election and the first female veteran to throw her hat into the ring. 

RELATED: Military vet Ojeda announces 2020 presidential campaign

"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," the Hawaii Democrat told CNN's Van Jones during an interview for "The Van Jones Show" that aired at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

"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," Gabbard said. "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."

As a member of the House, Gabbard has used her seat in Congress to champion veteran issues. Just last month, Gabbard and Brian Mast (R-Fla.) stood shoulder-to-shoulder with members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to urge their colleagues to improve VA care for women, pass crucial burn pits legislation, and to make vets impacted by delayed GI Bill payments whole.

“There are still too many of our brothers and sisters across the country who are still not getting the care and benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Gabbard. “It’s as simple as that.”

RELATED: Veterans are demanding, not asking, for better care 

Gabbard is unique in more ways than just her military history. She's almost guaranteed to be the youngest candidate, according to the Associated Press, as she's barely old enough to run. She's part Samoan, part Caucasian, the first Hindu elected to Congress, and surfs in her spare time.

RELATED: Used to bucking establishment, Gabbard eyes White House run

For now, Gabbard is now one of five Democratic candidates — but the Associated Press predicts the number of candidates could reach 30 and include candidates with decades of experience such as former Vice President Joe Biden.

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