Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, a vocal critic of US President Donald Trump, on Monday announced he was running for the White House, joining an already crowded pool of 2020 hopefuls from his party. The 38-year-old member of the House of Representatives announced his campaign on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS.
"I've already done a lot but I can do more," said Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. "I've been in Congress for six years. I've defended our country from the Intelligence Committee while democracy has been on the ropes." Gun control reform is a key issue for the four-term lawmaker, whose district is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"I've talked to kids who sit in their classroom afraid that they'll be the next victim of gun violence," he told Colbert. "I see Washington do nothing about it after the moments of silence. And I see lawmakers who love their guns more than they love our kids." "I'm ready to solve these problems," he said. "I'm running for president of the United States."
Swalwell is scheduled to hold a town-hall event on Tuesday, focused on ending gun violence, in Sunrise, Florida -- a short distance from Parkland where 17 people were killed last year in a shooting at a high school. He also stressed the need for improved, affordable healthcare -- usually among the top issues on campaign trails in recent years.
"Americans need a healthcare guarantee: If you're sick, you'll be seen by a doctor, and if you're seen, you'll never go broke because of it," Swalwell said in a statement outlining his plans if he becomes president. The plans include a focus on education, with interest-free federal loans for college students.
"We must re-associate college with opportunity instead of crushing debt that leaves many unable to launch businesses, buy homes, or start families," he added. Swalwell is the 18th Democrat to launch a bid to become the party's nominee to challenge Trump next year.
The pool of Democratic candidates for 2020 is among the largest and most diverse ever, and Swalwell joins a crowded field that includes contenders with higher national profiles -- Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana. "I'm a Democrat, no doubt about it," Swalwell said in a statement posted on his website.
"But I've deliberately charted a bipartisan course -- and not just because I'm the son of two Republicans." The son of a police officer, Swalwell has said he was the first in his family to go to college. He is married and has two children. The Democratic nominating convention opens on July 13, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(With inputs from agencies.)