The Democratic field for the 2020 presidential race is getting packed.
Already seven people had declared for the race, seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican incumbent President Donald Trump, including Indian American U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California. And now another candidate has officially thrown her name into the mix.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 37-year-old Hindu Democrat representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, officially announced her candidacy Feb. 2. (Gabbard earlier announced her intent to run. See India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2SCrSh1)
“Growing up here in Hawaii, I loved swimming, surfing, and having fun in this paradise we are lucky to call home. But I gradually realized that I was actually happiest when I was doing things for other people, doing things to protect our water, oceans, and beaches,” Gabbard, who is popular in the Indian American community, said in her speech officially launching her campaign.
“This was a different kind of happiness than what I experienced when just thinking of myself. It was a deeper happiness, that stayed with me. I knew that no matter what path I chose in life, I wanted service to be the foundation,” she added.
Gabbard went on to praise her constituents and the country as a whole, talking about her service in the Army National Guard, where she served as a major for the past 15 years; serving in the Hawaii state house, a seat she was elected to at 21; serving more than 100,000 people as a member of the Honolulu City Council; and serving the past six years in Congress.
Her campaign page notes that the candidate is a champion for protecting our environment, ensuring clean water and air for generations to come, investing in infrastructure and a green energy economy, healthcare for all, civil liberties and privacy, support for small businesses, criminal justice reform, sustainable agriculture, breaking up the big banks.
Her campaign states that “Regime change wars are bankrupting our country and our moral authority. We need to redirect those resources into a renewable, sustainable economy that works for everyone and bring about an era of peace. We must put service above self and reclaim our great democracy from the forces of hatred and division.”
Furthermore, Gabbard stated in her launch speech that hatred and divisiveness have cast a dark shadow across the nation.
“We are being torn apart by powerful, self-serving politicians and greedy corporations, inciting hatred, fear and conflict between us because of the color of our skin, the way we worship, or our political party,” she said. “This corruption of spirit driven by greed and selfishness is eroding the very fabric of our society … and democracy itself.”
Gabbard, harkening back on her service to the nation, noted that when individuals serve, it’s for all Americans.
She said soldiers serve as one – indivisible and unbreakable – united by the bond for one another and the love of the country.
“It is this principle of putting service above self, that is at the heart of every soldier, every service member,” she said. “And it is in this spirit that today I announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.”
Gabbard went on to ask people to stand up to fight for the soul of the country; stand up against the forces of greed and corruption; stand up for bought and paid-for politicians; stand up against big pharma and insurance companies; stand up against big Wall Street banks; stand up against overreaching intel agencies and big tech companies; and stand up against those who pollute the earth, among others.
“We deserve better,” she said. “Our country deserves better.”