CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A retired Army paratrooper and West Virginia lawmaker seeking to restore the Democratic Party’s blue-collar roots chose Veterans Day to formalize his campaign for the presidency in 2020.
State Sen. Richard Ojeda filed his campaign committee paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday. He planned a speech at noon on Monday.
The military veteran known for his tattoos and populist message lost a congressional race to a Republican this month.
Ojeda, who is of Mexican descent, was elected to the West Virginia senate in 2016 and became a champion of teachers during their fight for better pay and benefits. He sponsored successful legislation to make medical marijuana legal, and has stressed health care and economic issues in a district reeling from lost coal jobs.
“We’re going to have quite a few lifetime politicians that are going to throw their hat in the ring, but I guarantee you there’s going to be a hell of a lot more of them than there are people like myself that is, a working-class person that basically can relate to the people on the ground, the people that are actually struggling,” he told The Intercept. “I’m not trying to throw stones at people that are rich, but once again, we will have a field that will be full of millionaires and I’m sure a few billionaires.”