In a video posted to his website Saturday, the 67-year-old retired U.S. Navy officer said his “global canvas of service” has prepared him for the presidency.
“I wore the cloth of the nation for over 31 years in peace and war,” Sestak said in the video. “I learned integrity’s values by my parents living them: service to country, to others, above self with accountability in answering one’s self.”
Sestak is slated to speak at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday afternoon.
“What Americans most want today is someone who is accountable to them, above self, above party, above any special interest,” he said in a statement. “I want to be that president who serves the American people the way they deserve to be served.”
Sestak spent roughly three decades serving in the Navy. He was the director of defense policy on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s.
He won election to the U.S. House in a Republican-dominated district in 2006. As a three-star admiral, Sestak was the highest ranking military official elected to Congress at the time.
He served two terms in the House, holding positions on the Armed Services and Education and Labor committees, as well as serving as the vice chairman of the Small Business Committee.
Sestak won the 2010 Democratic nomination for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania but lost in the general election to Republican Pat Toomey. He launched another bid for the seat in 2016 but lost his party’s primary.
He later became the president of FIRST Global, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting STEM education in the developing world.
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has become jam-packed. Minus Sestak and a few others, 20 of the candidates will square off in debates on Wednesday and Thursday nights in Miami ― 10 in each forum.
Sestak said in his statement that he delayed entering the race so he could provide support for his daughter, Alex, as she battled a recurrence of brain cancer.
“The brain cancer she had courageously beaten at four years old returned this past year,” he said in his statement. “But with her same team of medical heroes, she has again overcome the single-digit odds” of surviving it.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the number of candidates in the Democratic race.