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Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer standing at a podium.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Billionaire Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund manager who's become known for his philanthropy and liberal activism. In 2012, he left his role at Farallon Capital to promote alternative energy. Come 2013, he founded NextGen America: an environmentally focused nonprofit and political action committee. He also launched the "Need to Impeach" campaign in 2017, spending $10 million on a national ad urging proceedings against the president, according to Forbes. He has since resigned his positions at NextGen and Need to Impeach to pursue the Democratic nomination.

Key facts about Tom Steyer:

  • Current position: Philanthropist and activist
  • Age: 62
  • Born: New York, N.Y.
  • Undergraduate: Yale University
  • Date candidacy announced: July 9, 2019
  • Previous roles: Founder of Farallon Capital, and nonprofits NextGen America and Need to Impeach

Tom Steyer's stance on key issues:

  • Climate change: The billionaire has a large stake in climate change. According to The Atlantic, Steyer is "frustrated" that Gov. Jay Inslee's climate-focused platform has not gained momentum. His organization, NextGen, has consistently promoted green-energy policies and a transition to a sustainable economy.
  • Impeachment: Steyer's "Need to Impeach" campaign has long advocated for President Trump's removal from office.
  • Big business: Steyer says he is committed to taking on corporations, stating in a press release that "the only way for us to solve the urgent problems facing our country is to loosen the stranglehold that corporations have over our politicians and return political power to the American people."
  • Immigration: In a July tweet on the migrant crisis at the southern border, Steyer wrote that the Trump administration has "desensitized the Border Patrol to a shocking degree and made immigrants in desperation 'The Enemy."
  • LGTBQ issues: Steyer has advocated for LGBTQ equality. In response to Trump's 2016 selection of Mike Pence as vice president, Steyer said the president had chosen "someone who had vilified another part of our community — the LGBT part of our community," Politico wrote.

Key criticisms of Tom Steyer:

  • Despite having sold his holdings in companies that generate fossil fuels, Steyer still bankrolled numerous projects that will continue to emit carbon into the foreseeable future.
  • Steyer, who's launched his White House campaign condemning corporate America, may find himself at odds with his own business history. Farallon had $20 billion under its management when Steyer left.

1 fun thing about Tom Steyer:

  • Tom and his wife, Kathryn Taylor, have 4 grown children.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates