WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb announced his candidacy Thursday for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president. Here's a look at where he stands on some issues:
Webb speaks about the need for economic "fairness" and ways of addressing the disparity between the wealthy and the poor. He has said he would pursue a tax overhaul if elected president and suggested he would reduce the corporate tax rate in exchange for eliminating numerous loopholes. Webb has said he would examine shifting tax policies away from income and more toward consumption. He has cited the need to repair crumbling roads and bridges and advocated for federal programs to fix the nation's infrastructure.
In his presidential announcement, Webb noted that he wrote about the potential problems of going to war in Iraq five months before the 2003 invasion by the U.S. He has said the invasion of Iraq strengthened Iran and he's criticized President Barack Obama's use of force in Libya, saying it set a bad precedent in the region. He has called for the creation of a "new strategic doctrine" for foreign policy that would lay out the circumstances in which the U.S. would use military force. Webb has been wary of nuclear talks with Iran, saying the Obama administration and Congress "should be looking very hard at the actual terms of this agreement, which we on the outside cannot yet see or evaluate."
Webb was central in the passage of the post-Sept. 11 GI Bill for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking to attend college. He has said it "shows that you can get things done in the United States government; you can get over the paralysis and work across the aisle." He also pushed for ensuring that service members have enough time in the U.S. before being deployed overseas for another mission. He has also criticized the backlog of claims in the Veterans Administration system.
In the Senate, Webb championed ways to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system, pointing to the swollen prison population and the influx of incarcerated drug offenders since the 1980s. He held Senate hearings to address the matter, arguing the country was spending billions on non-violent offenders. In his announcement, he said: "It's wasting lives, often beginning at a very early age, creating career criminals rather than curing them. It's not making our neighborhoods safer."
Webb welcomed the Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage in all 50 states. He said it ensures the government no longer discriminates yet clearly defines the separation of church and state. He said the decision gives religious groups "proper protection" under the First Amendment to continue to advocate their beliefs regarding traditional marriage. He said the decision would allow Americans to "respect the private lives and personal decisions of others."