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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz ’92 announced his presidential candidacy in a speech at Liberty University on Monday.

Cruz is the first major candidate to announce a presidential bid for the 2016 elections.

Liberty University was founded by the televangelist Jerry Falwell, and its students were mandated to attend the convocation, according to the New York Times.

Cruz began his speech by talking about his parents. He explained that his mother was the first in her family to attend college even though she was raised by parents who believed that women should not be overly educated. His father, who had fought in the Cuban revolution as a teenager, escaped to America in 1957, he said.

He also said that his wife, Heidi Cruz, was raised in Africa, became an entrepreneur at a young age and is now a mother to their two children, Catherine and Caroline. She is also a managing director at Goldman Sachs, a job from which she has recently taken a leave of absence.

Cruz then explained his own background, noting that he needed to work two jobs in order to attend the University because his family was going through bankruptcy at the time.

Cruz shifted into a discussion of policy, asking his audience to imagine a world in which students coming out of college would have up to six job offers waiting. He also commended Liberty University for filing a lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act hours after passing Congress.

“Imagine in 2017 a new president, signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare,” Cruz said. “Imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the way between you and your doctor and that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable."

There is also a need for a flat tax, and for the IRS to be abolished, he said, adding that U.S. borders need to be more secure and a more robust legal immigration system needs to be created.

He also reiterated his pro-life and anti-same sex marriage stance in his speech and mentioned his support of Second Amendment gun rights.

He added the federal government should repeal the Common Core, rather than try to dictate school curriculum through it, before moving into an outline of foreign policy goals.

“Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel,” Cruz said.

He also discussed enforcing Iran’s nuclear ban and hardening the United States’ stance against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Cruz then proceeded to outline his conception of the United States’ historical ideals and accomplishments, referencing the hopes of the Framers and detailing more recent successes, like economic growth after crushing stagnation during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

“The power of the American people when we rise up and stand for liberty knows no bounds,” Cruz said. “I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America.”

Following that statement, Cruz formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States.

He ended by saying the American people needed to stand together for liberty and for the principles of the Constitution because change will come from them and not from the federal government.

“We will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America,” Cruz said.

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