LOS ANGELES - The field of 2020 presidential candidates is crowded, with 21 Democrats currently making a bid for the White House along with two Republicans — one of whom is President Donald Trump.
As campaign season heats up, here's a look at each candidate vying for the highest office in the land:
Michael Bennet has been a Senator from Colorado since 2009, before which he served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools. He also served two years as Chief of Staff to fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, John Hickenlooper, during his time as mayor of Denver.
One of Bennet's main focuses in his campaign is offering a more moderate solution to the healthcare issue, pushing for what he is calling Medicare X. Instead of pushing for single-payer health care like many other democrats in the race, Bennet proposed a bill that would allow consumers to buy into insurance exchanges. He has also proposed a bill called the American Family Act which would reduce poverty among children from about 15 percent to 9.5 percent.
The 47th vice president of the United States has now officially tossed his name in the running for the 2020 presidency. Biden served as a senator from Delaware for 36 years before assuming the role of VP to former President Barack Obama in 2009. This will be Biden's third bid for the presidency; he also ran in 1988 and 2008.
Biden will focus on rebuilding the middle class, repairing our relationships with allies and modernizing the military.
Cory Booker has served as a U.S. senator from New Jersey since 2013, but he got his start as a tenant organizer for a public housing project that he lived in immediately after leaving Yale. Booker was elected mayor of Newark in 2006.
Booker's campaign is centered around restoring national unity, with a heavy focus on economic and criminal justice reform. He wants to achieve marijuana legalization on a federal level, Medicare for all, federally-backed savings accounts for every child born in America, increased action against climate change and stronger legal protections for environmental injustice.
53-year-old Montana Governor, Steve Bullock is the most recent candidate to join the race, though his campaign has been long in the making — Bullock visited the Iowa State Fair last year. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Bullock worked in private practice for years before going on to be elected Attorney General of Montana in 2008.
Bullock will focus on campaign finance, and promises to get rid of the corruption that allows campaign finance to rule elections and drown out the voice of the people.
At age 37, Pete Buttigieg is one of the youngest candidates in the race, and he's framing his campaign around the idea that nostalgia for bygone eras is getting in the way of creating a better future. Buttigieg is focused on the issues that have become focal points for American youth in recent years, like addressing climate change, making health care more accessible and creating strong protections for marginalized identities.
Buttigieg is currently serving as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a position he assumed at only 29 years old. He once took an unpaid seven-month leave from his position as mayor to deploy to Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Julián Castro had been mayor of San Antonio, Texas for five years when President Barack Obama offered him the role of secretary of housing and urban development in 2014. During his three years in the role, Castro worked to reduce the number of homeless veterans, make housing more accessible and improve the conditions of public housing.
Castro has highlighted his immigrant roots in building out his campaign. His grandmother came to the United States at 7 years old, paving the way for his mother to become a prominent Chicana activist, and for him and his twin brother to become public servants. Now he has built a campaign around protecting the American dream for all.
In his campaign announcement, he cited Medicare for all, universal pre-kindergarten, and comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Bill de Blasio
Before being elected mayor of New York City in a landslide 2013 election, Bill de Blasio held a seat on New York City Council's 39th District for three terms, which paved the way for him to be elected New York City Public Advocate in 2008.
De Blasio is focused on taking the reforms he has successfully initiated in New York to the national level—reforms such as raising the minimum wage to $15, providing paid sick leave for hourly workers, guaranteed health coverage, and free pre-K for all.
John Delaney is an entrepreneur and former congressman from Maryland who has been campaigning for the presidency since 2017. Delaney founded two successful companies that collectively created thousands of jobs, one of which was a loan provider for small and mid-sized businesses that was awarded the Treasury Department's Bank Enterprise Award for investing in low-income communities.
Delaney's campaign is focused on unifying a divided nation, and he has already proposed an ambitious set of initiatives that are interrelated as part of his plan to do so. He wants to boost economic opportunity by creating jobs and service programs centered around improving infrastructure and combating climate change. He's pushing for universal health care and legislation that would regulate the prices of pharmaceuticals. To fix the political system, Delaney wants to get rid of Citizens United and gerrymandering, and he says he would only push forward bipartisan bills to encourage cooperation from both parties. But he's also looking to make headway on issues surrounding tech and globalization, like creating a Department of Cybersecurity and forming a national strategy on artificial intelligence.
At the age of 21, Tulsi Gabbard served in Hawaii's State Legislature before going on to complete two deployments to the Middle East as part of the Hawaii Army National Guard. Today she is a major in the National Guard and is serving her fourth-term in Congress.
Gabbard's experience in the military inspired her presidential platform, and putting an end to regime change wars overseas is her most pressing point. She hopes to redirect the resources that are being poured into American military interventions overseas into creating a renewable, sustainable economy at home. Environmental protection, infrastructure improvement, breaking up big banks, criminal justice reform, health care for all and sustainable agriculture are also major priorities.
Kirsten Gillibrand started her political career as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and then as a lawyer in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration. In 2006, she was elected to Congress to represent the state of New York and became only the sixth woman in U.S. history to give birth while serving as a congresswoman.
Gillibrand wants money out of politics and is running her campaign to reflect it; she has vowed to reject corporate PAC and federal lobbyist money. Affordable quality health care and high-quality public education are also major parts of her platform.
Kamala Harris served two terms as district attorney of San Francisco before she went on to become the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve as California attorney general, and the second African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, where she represents the state of California today. As a senator, Harris serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Budget.
She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and has devoted her career to public service with a strong focus on civil rights and reforming the criminal justice system. In her bid for president, she has promised to implement tax cuts for working and middle-class Americans, and to continue fighting for women's rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and voting rights.
Amy Klobuchar served as Hennepin County attorney for two terms, from 1998 to 2006, before being elected to the Senate for the state of Minnesota, where she has served for the past 12 years.
Klobuchar's top budget priority is fixing infrastructure. She has drafted a wide-sweeping, trillion-dollar plan that proposes the repair and replacement of roads, highways and bridges. Klobuchar also looks to provide protection against flooding, modernize airports and seaports, expand public transportation, rebuild schools, connect every household to the internet by 2020 and ensure clean water.
Wayne Messam became the first black mayor of Miramar, Florida when he was elected in 2015.
The key issues Messam plans to tackle if elected are gun safety, climate change and resolving the student debt crisis. He has proposed rescinding the 2017 tax cut package to create new funds for a one-time, in-full federal government debt cancellation plan that would wipe away borrowers' debt within 60 days.
Former congressman from Texas Beto O'Rourke became a household name during his highly publicized but ultimately unsuccessful 2018 Senate campaign against longstanding Sen. Ted Cruz. Before his three terms in Congress, O'Rourke served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.
O'Rourke aims to take on powerful special interests and get big money out of politics, create new pathways to citizenship for immigrants, improve access to quality health care and reform the criminal justice system through endeavors like legalizing marijuana and ending for-profit prisons.
Tim Ryan was elected to Congress for the state of Ohio at the age of 29 after working as a congressional staffer.
Ryan promises to focus on the issues that he says will rebuild the American dream: public education, affordable health care and an economy that works for every American. Having lived in the Rust Belt all his life, Ryan will center workers and their needs at the heart of his campaign.
Bernie Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, captivated the country during his 2016 run for the Democratic nomination for president against Hillary Clinton, but his political career began long before. He was mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years, and he served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to the Senate.
He is running on a platform built around the same ideologies which shaped his 2016 campaign: Medicare for all, free college tuition and limiting the influence of billionaires and money in politics.
The former Pennsylvania congressman and retired three-star Navy admiral announced his bid in late June. The 67-year-old said part of the reason for waiting so long to announce his bid was because of his daughter's brain cancer battle.
Part of Sestak’s campaign includes fighting lobbyists in D.C., cutting taxes for the middle class while raising the corporate tax, restoring the Affordable Care Act with a public option to expand access and rejoining the Paris Accord to combat climate change, among other things. He includes categories of the issues he has ideas for in a “Plan for America” section on his campaign website.
Tom Steyer, 62, is a self-made billionaire who was among the first to sign the Giving Pledge — a commitment to give away the bulk of his personal wealth over the course of his lifetime. In 2013, he founded NextGen America, a nonprofit that utilizes voter registration and grassroots organizing to combat climate change, promote social justice, and increase political participation. In 2017, he turned his focus to a wide-scale impeachment campaign, rallying millions of Americans to make a public call for Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Elizabeth Warren was a professor for more than 30 years at Rutgers University, University of Houston, University of Texas-Austin, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. During the 2008 financial crisis, she served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel to help with oversight of the Wall Street bailout. She went on to become a senator from Massachusetts in 2012.
Warren has set her sights on ending corruption in Washington, getting big money out of politics, expanding voting rights and rebuilding the middle class through the strengthening of unions, enforcement of antitrust laws and tax reform.
Marianne Williamson is a self-help author who began writing and speaking about spiritual psychotherapy in the 1980s. She became an advocate for the rights of gay men during the AIDS crisis, and she created Project Angel Food, a meal service that delivers food to people with serious illnesses who cannot leave their home, and which has now delivered over 11 million meals.
Williamson's biggest proposal is for monetary reparations for slavery, suggesting that $100 billion be distributed in $10 billion increments over the course of 10 years to stimulate economic and educational programs.
Andrew Yang comes from the tech industry and is an entrepreneur and former executive who founded a highly successful education company before going on to found Venture for America, an economic development nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs create jobs.
Yang has settled on three major policies in his campaign: a universal basic income of $1,000 monthly for every American, Medicare for all and human-centered capitalism.
Donald Trump is currently serving as the 45th president of the United States after a long and highly-publicized career as a businessman and television personality.
Trump is devoted to tackling the same issues in 2020 that are on his slate right now: buckling down on immigration and strengthening national security through endeavors like building a wall at the Mexico border, renegotiating or exiting from trade deals like TPP and NAFTA to boost the economy and building up the military to fight terrorism abroad.
William Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and re-elected in 1994. He was the first Republican to be elected to the office in 20 years. He got his political start as a staffer for Congress during the Watergate case which led to Nixon's impeachment, and then he went on to serve as assistant U.S. attorney general in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department.
Weld is framing his campaign around his direct opposition to the Trump administration, situating himself as the moderate Republican alternative to Trump. He hopes to reduce divisiveness between parties and implement more conservative economic policies.