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May 3rd, 2019

Marianne Williamson is one of the candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination for President who has never held elected office in Congress or as a Governor, though she has ran for Congress. She is an American author, lecturer and activist, who has written 13 books, primarily in the field of wellness and spirituality. Four of her books have been New York Times number one bestsellers. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a volunteer food delivery program that serves home-bound people with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. She is also the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization supporting peace-building projects. In 2014, Williamson unsuccessfully ran as an Independent to represent California's 33rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. On January 29, 2019, she announced her campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election.

Her full name is Marianne Deborah Williamson and she was born on July 8, 1952, in Houston, Texas, the youngest of three children. Her father was an immigration lawyer and her mother was a homemaker. She spent two years studying theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California, before dropping out of college in her junior year. She moved to New York City to pursue a career as a cabaret singer. In 1979, she returned to Houston, where she ran a metaphysical bookstore and coffee shop. In 1983 she moved to Los Angeles and began regularly lecturing on A Course in Miracles. She published her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, in 1992.

Williamson's first book, A Return To Love, was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992 and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks. She has published 12 other books, seven of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list and four of which have risen to number one. She has sold more than 3 million copies of her books. Her first book, she wrote about responsible political involvement, writing: "It is a task of our generation to awaken from our culture of distraction and re-engage the process of democracy with soulfulness and hope. Yes, we see there are problems in the world. But we believe in a universal force that, when activated by the human heart, has the power to make all things right. Such is the divine authority of love: to renew the heart, renew the nations, and ultimately, renew the world."

In response to the HIV/AIDS crises in the 1980s, Williamson founded the Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living, which served as a refuge and non-medical support for people with HIV/AIDS, enabling them to connect with a variety of psychological and emotional resources, as well as community of support. In 1989, she launched Project Angel Food to build off the work of the Centers for Living. Originally launched to support HIV/AIDS patients, Project Angel Food expanded its outreach and currently cooks and delivers more than 12,000 meals each week, free of charge, to the homes of men, women and children affected by various life-threatening illnesses. In 2017, Project Angel Food served its 11 millionth meal.

In 2004, Williamson co-founded The Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing peace-building approaches to domestic and international conflicts. She has said of this work: "You proactively seek to cultivate the conditions of peace so we can have a much more sophisticated analysis of what it will take to create a more peaceful world." She was also a member of the Board of Directors of RESULTS, an organization with the aim of ending hunger and poverty around the world and to addresses the causes of poverty.

In 2014 Williamson ran, as an Independent, for the seat of California's 33rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives elections. In announcing her campaign she said, "America has gone off the democratic rails. A toxic brew of shrinking civil liberties and expanded corporate influence are poisoning our democracy. Humanitarian values should replace economic values as the ordering principle of our civilization." She received endorsements from former Governors Jennifer Granholm and Jesse Ventura and former Congress members Dennis Kucinich. Alanis Morissette wrote and performed Williamson's campaign song, "Today". She finished fourth out of 16 candidates, with 14,335 votes for 13.2% of the vote.

On November 15, 2018, Williamson announced the formation of her presidential exploratory committee. She made the announcement in a video in which she said "there was a miracle in this country in 1776 and we need another one. " She visited New Hampshire in early January, and hired an experienced campaign manager in Iowa. She officially launched her presidential campaign in Los Angeles on January 28, 2019 in front of an audience of 2,000 people. Following her Los Angeles announcement, she held her Iowa kickoff in Des Moines on January 31. She later made another trip to New Hampshire, and announced the appointment of former Congressman Paul Hodes, who represented New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district from 2007 to 2011, as New Hampshire state director and senior campaign advisor.

As of May 1, Williamson's campaign announced that it needs 6,308 additional donors to reach the threshold of 65,000 unique donors required for entry into the official primary debates. Her campaign raised $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, during which the campaign received donations from 46,663 individuals.

Williamson supports an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. She calls for a reduction in income inequality, addressing climate change, and attacking student loan debt. She supports a "Medicare for All model", Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without a "serious criminal background". She also supports the Green New Deal, stricter gun control, criminal justice reform, free college tuition, and raising the top marginal tax rate on high earners.

Her signature campaign promise is a call for $100 billion in reparations for slavery to be distributed over 10 years by a group of black leaders for selected "economic and education projects".

Williamson is an anti-war activist and has condemned the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. She has called for an embargo on American arms being sold to the Saudis.

Williamson is one of the candidates who does not show up in Real Clear Politics' aggregate polling numbers of the top 16 candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination, meaning that she is polling at an average of less than 0.4%.


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