Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat who tried to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz last fall, announced Thursday he will run for president in 2020. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo
March 14 (UPI) -- Former Texas U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke ended months of speculation Thursday by announcing he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, O'Rourke, 46, talked about finding solutions for climate change, common sense immigration laws, affordable healthcare, uniting a divided country and ending decades-long wars.
"This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us," O'Rourke said.
Sitting beside his wife in their home, O'Rourke said in the video he will travel next to Iowa, a key primary state, before heading to other states.
O'Rourke served three terms in the House before making a run at the Senate, narrowly losing to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last November.
O'Rourke represented El Paso, Texas, a border town where President Donald Trump has been adamant that a wall is needed to keep illegal immigrants out. O'Rourke said while illegal immigration is a problem, "it's the best possible problem for this country to have." O'Rourke has also served on the El Paso City Council.
"We should ensure that there are lawful paths to work, to be with family and to flee persecution," he said.
O'Rourke first confirmed he would run in a text message to El Paso station KTSM-TV Wednesday.
"I'm really proud of what El Paso represents," O'Rourke said in the message. "It's a big part of why I'm running. This city is the best example of this country at its best."
When Trump held a rally for the border wall in El Paso in February, O'Rourke held a counter rally across the street that drew thousands of supporters.
"Walls do not save lives; walls end lives," O'Rourke told the crowd.
In his video Thursday, O'Rourke called climate change the greatest challenge in the world that must be confronted with ingenuity and creativity, adding that we are the "last great hope of Earth."
The popular Democrat plans to mount a grass-roots presidential campaign with a kickoff event March 30 in El Paso.
More than a dozen other Democrats have entered the race to challenge Trump's re-election campaign.