Exactly two years remain until our 44th President is sworn in. Declaring that "America's future is calling us," Hillary Rodham Clinton has launched her campaign to be the one who takes that oath of office on January 20, 2009:
Meanwhile, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has also jumped in:
I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values.
I have worked on issues critical to our country almost all my life. I've fought for children for more than 30 years. In Arkansas, I pushed for education reform. As First Lady, I helped to expand health care coverage to millions of children and to pass legislation that dramatically increased adoptions. I also traveled to China to affirm that women's rights are human rights.
And in the Senate, I have worked across party lines to get billions more for children's health care, to stop the president's plan to privatize Social Security, and to make sure the victims and heroes of 9/11 and our men and women in uniform receive the fair treatment they deserve. In 2006, I led the successful fight to make Plan B contraception available to women without a prescription.
I have spent a lifetime opening opportunities for tens of millions who are working hard to raise a family: new immigrants, families living in poverty, people who have no health care or face an uncertain retirement.
And just a few days ago, Barack Obama (D-IL) said he would take the plunge:
Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, became the second member of Congress on Saturday to formally announce a run for the White House.
"Today my family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House," said Brownback, referring to the sections of "The Wizard of Oz" -- the popular story with a Kansas theme.
Brownback -- the first Republican to declare his pursuit of the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 -- is strongly aligned with many positions of the religious right, including the stand that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.
We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.
This won't happen by itself. A change in our politics can only come from you; from people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it.
Years ago, as a community organizer in Chicago, I learned that meaningful change always begins at the grassroots, and that engaged citizens working together can accomplish extraordinary things.
So even in the midst of the enormous challenges we face today, I have great faith and hope about the future - because I believe in you.