Outspoken conservative and former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson officially announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 elections on Sunday.
According to Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow of the Associated Press, Carson, 63, has never run for public office. He would be the only high-profile African-American to enter the GOP presidential primary for 2016.
"I'm willing to be part of the equation and therefore, I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States of America," Carson said in an interview aired Sunday night at an Ohio TV station.
The doctor, who has led the pediatric neurosurgery unit of Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore for 29 years, talked with the Associated Press in an interview earlier this year. According to the Associated Press, he earned national acclaim after directing the first surgery to separate twins connected at the back of the head.
"I see myself as a member of 'we the people,'" he said. "I see myself as a logical American who has common sense, and I think that's going to resonate with a lot of Americans, regardless of their political party."
The Associated Press reported that Carson would formally announce his run for the presidency from Detroit, a city that he calls home. He first came to fame among conservative activists since his address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where he harshly criticized "the modern welfare state and the nation's overall direction" in front of President Barack Obama.
"Carson has since become a forceful critic of the nation's first black president on everything from health care to foreign policy," Peoples and Barrow wrote. "Carson also offers himself as a counter to other notable African-American commentators with more liberal views."
According to the Associated Press, Carson, a practicing Christian, is a social conservative who opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage. However, his views on health care and foreign policy have been more complex and have placed him at odds with some conservatives.
"He has compared the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature legislative achievement, to slavery," Peoples and Barrow wrote. "Yet Carson also has blasted for-profit insurance companies; called for stricter regulations - including of prices - of health care services; and said government should offer a nationalized insurance program for catastrophic care."
The Associated Press reported that Carson has favored "a safety net for the people who need a safety net," acknowledging that his mother received welfare aid. He grew up in Detroit alongside his brother in poverty.
Carson told Fox News Sunday that the crowded GOP field would give voters "an opportunity to hear a variety of solutions" to various issues. He also had his own reasons for running.
"There's no question this country is in very dire straits," Carson said. "The whole leadership issue is lacking."