Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, officially launched her presidential campaign from her home state Hawaii on Sunday, 3 February, promising to bend "the arc of history away from war and toward peace".
Taking a dig at America's foreign policy establishment in her campaign announcement, the four-time Democratic lawmaker in the US House of Representatives from Hawaii blamed politicians in "ivory towers" for US' involvement in costly armed conflicts abroad.
"We must stand against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage and new places for people to die. Wasting trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, undermining our economy and security, and destroying our middle class," Gabbard said.
"These powerful politicians dishonor the sacrifices made by every one of our service members, and their families - they are the ones who pay the price for these wars," she said.
Youngest Democrat Face to Enter Presidential Race
Asserting that the foreign policy is depleting US' resources and exhausting its military, the Hawaii lawmaker said she will work towards "bending the arc of history away from war and toward peace" and to achieve this it "will require every one of us to stand up against the military industrial complex and powerful, self-serving politicians who have a vested interest in perpetual war".
Gabbard she will work towards building partnerships with other nations based on shared interests, leading with a foreign policy based not on conflict but on cooperation.
Other policy positions that the White House hopeful discussed included Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, environmental advocacy and the need to combat privacy infringement by big tech companies.
A former Iraq war veteran, 37-year-old Gabbard is a former Co-Chair of the powerful India Caucus in the House of Representatives. She is the youngest Democratic leader to enter the 2020 presidential race.
The first ever Hindu lawmaker to be elected to the House of Representatives, Gabbard during her tenure in the Congress has established herself as an authority on national security and foreign policy issues.
She is among the four women who have thrown their hat into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.
The other three are Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris from California and Senators Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York.
The Relevance of ‘Hindu’ Face
Gabbard, who converted to Hinduism early in her life, is highly popular among Indian-Americans. If elected, she would be the youngest ever and first woman president of the US. She would also be the first non-Christian and first Hindu to occupy the top post. However, at this point of time, political pundits do not give her much chance.
Hindus constitute less than one per cent of the American population, an overwhelming majority of whom are either from India or are people of Indian-origin.
The lawmaker pointed to her service in the state's Army National Guard as a reason for her desire to seek public office.
"It is this principle of service above self, that is at the heart of every soldier...it is in this spirit, that today I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Gabbard told a cheering crowd.
Attacking incumbent President Donald Trump, she said, "Instead of draining the swamp, our president has turned it into a cesspool of corruption."
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