U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat known for bucking the party establishment and for criticizing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, formally launched her campaign for president with a video posted online Thursday.
Gabbard joins a growing field of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro recently announced a bid, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Sen. Kamala Harris of California say they are running.
“We have people in positions of power who are not thinking about the well-being of the people and our planet,” Gabbard said in the video . “Where is that conversation about the needs of our people?”
Gabbard, 37, has represented Honolulu’s suburbs and rural Hawaii in the U.S. House since 2013. She is a combat veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait with the Hawaii National Guard.
She was an early, vocal supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the last presidential campaign, which has made her popular with progressive Democrats.
Gabbard indicated in an interview with CNN earlier this month that she would be a candidate. She said she would follow it up with a formal launch, which occurred Thursday.
Critics have focused on her past advocacy against same-sex marriage.
Gabbard released a nearly four-minute-long video statement on YouTube last week explaining how she grew up in a socially conservative household but has since formed her own opinions shaped by her life experiences.
She apologized for her past statements and the harm they caused.