It’s official. Sen. Marco Rubio announced Monday that he is running for president in 2016.
“Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America,” Rubio told supporters in a speech Monday evening at Miami’s Freedom Tower.
The announcement came after the Florida senator told top donors that he would be entering the race earlier in the day.
“The time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American Century,” Rubio said in his speech. “This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.”
The son of Cuban immigrants also pledged his dedication of the American Dream, saying it is slipping away for too many families and young Americans. He also vowed to focus on groups that have long eluded Republicans — young people, minorities and the less affluent, according to the Associated Press.
“I feel uniquely qualified to not just make that argument, but to outline the policies that we need to have in order to achieve it,” Rubio said.
“My candidacy might seem improbable to some watching from abroad,” Rubio added. “In many countries, the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and powerful. But I live in an exceptional country, I live in an exceptional country, where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”
He also took the opportunity to criticize his older rivals — fellow Republican and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, 62, who is expected to run, and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, 67.
“We heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow,” he said referring to Clinton.
At 43 years old, Rubio is the youngest of the four major candidates to declare a run for the White House. His announcement follows former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s video message Sunday announcing her run.
Rubio and Clinton join Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have already announced their presidential runs.