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Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announces 2020 presidential run

She's been in Congress since 2012

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination during an interview with CNN's Van Jones on Friday that will air over the weekend.

Gabbard is a 37-year-old Hindu congresswoman who served two tours of duty in the Middle East in the Army National Guard before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

Why she's running: Gabbard didn't go into extreme detail about her decision, saying she would explain more when she makes a formal announcement.

"There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision," Gabbard said. "There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve.

"There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace," she continued. "I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement."

Who will run her campaign: Rania Batrice, former deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2016, will be Gabbard's campaign manager.

More about Gabbard's background: Gabbard was formerly the vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and was a vocal supporter of Sanders' 2016 campaign.

At age 21, Gabbard was elected to serve in the Hawaii state Legislature. She stepped down in 2004 to fight in the Iraq War. After coming back home, she worked as a legislative aide to Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), until she again left the political world to serve in the Middle East in 2009.

She served on the Honolulu City Council before getting elected to the state Legislature.

Notable political stances: Gabbard has drawn some skepticism from Democrats due to her foreign policy positions and her previous stance on same sex unions.

According to CNN, she holds anti-interventionist positions on foreign policy issues. In 2017, Gabbard was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

She said she met with him to show that U.S. can "truly care about the Syrian people" with the hope of achieving peace. Gabbard supported legislation that made it more difficult for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S.

Gabbard criticized the Obama administration on Iran, before ultimately supporting the Iran nuclear agreement.

Gabbard was also criticized for being one of the only Democrats to meet with President Donald Trump after he was elected.

She once said that the Democratic Party "should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists" in her opposition to legalizing same-sex civil unions in Hawaii. She says she no longer holds those views on the issue.

One last thing…
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