Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard announce 2020 presidential bids

Two more Democratic politicians have joined the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro officially kicked off his 2020 campaign with a speech in San Antonio Saturday, where he served as mayor from 2009 until 2014 when he joined the Obama administration. Castro had announced that he had formed an exploratory committee back in December.

During his speech, Castro made multiple references to his immigrant roots, his mother’s political activism and his twin brother’s career as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Castro’s grandmother had immigrated to the U.S. in 1920 after she was orphaned during the Mexican Revolution. If elected, he would become the first Hispanic president of the United States.

“When my grandmother got here almost 100 years ago, I’m sure that she never could have imagined that just two generations later her grandsons would be serving as a member of United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words, ‘I am a candidate for president of the United States of America,’” Castro said during the speech, which had echoes to his 2014 keynote address to the Democratic Nation Convention.

Also see: Billionaire Tom Steyer decides not to run in 2020 — will focus on Trump impeachment

Castro was frequently cited as a potential vice-presidential pick for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, said in an interview with CNN’s Van Jones set to air Saturday evening that she will make a formal announcement of her intention to run for president within the next week. In the interview, she told Jones that health care access, criminal justice reform and climate change were among the reasons she has decided through her hat in the ring.

“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.

An Iraq war veteran, Gabbard made history when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 by becoming the first Samoan-American and the first Hindu member of Congress. She previously served as the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, but resigned to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sander’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Gabbard sparked controversy for meeting with Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. Her 2020 candidacy has attracted criticism from some on the left for her past opposition to same-sex marriage when she was a Hawaii state legislator.

Read more: Why the 2020 presidential candidates should embrace Reagan’s vision for America

Gabbard and Castro will likely face steep competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced the creation of an exploratory committee right before the New Year and has already begun stumping in Iowa. Other individuals reportedly considering runs include Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden.

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