Nikita Richardson
May 04, 2015 10:59 am

While Hillary Clinton’s claim to the presidency is far from secure, she remains one of just two Democrats who have announced their bids for the White House and was the only woman running — until today. Earlier this morning, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of technology corporation Hewlett-Packard, announced that she will join the presidential race as a Republican.

Fiorina is entering the ring ready to fight. Fiorina’s first political video opens with a short clip from Clinton’s campaign video followed by Fiorina stating that, “our founding fathers never intended us to have a professional political class.” The statement appears to be a direct criticism of America’s “political families,” including the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Pauls, and, of course, the Clintons.

“We are going to run a different kind of campaign,” Fiorina told reporters via conference call before launching into her platform.

Below are some notes on the newest presidential candidate to enter the field.

What is Fiorina’s professional background?

Born to an artist and a federal judge in Austin, Texas, Fiorina attended Stanford University for undergrad before receiving her MBA and her Master of Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and MIT, respectively. From 1980 to 1998, Fiorina worked as an executive at AT&T and Lucent before accepting the CEO title at Hewlett-Packard in 1999.

What led Fiorina to depart HP?

During her tenure, Fiorina’s relationship with the company’s board of directors became strained following her decision to purchase HP competitor, Compaq. The internal struggle drove HP stock prices down while Fiorina’s cost-cutting measures — which included eliminating redundancies and exporting jobs oversea — put 30,000 HP employees out of work. In 2005, Fiorina was forced to resign from the company, receiving a $21 million severance package.

Does Fiorina have political experience?

Technically no, and she’s quick to admit that. But this isn’t her first rodeo either. In 2008, she worked on Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign and in 2010, Fiorina gave Democratic senator Barbara Boxer, a run for her money in the California race for U.S. Senate. Fiorina managed to win 42.2% of the votes to Boxer’s 52.2%. Speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Fiorina countered her lack of experience, saying, “I think I’m the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand executive decision making which is making a tough call in a tough time with high stakes.”

How will Fiorina pay for her campaign?

With so many Republicans in the running, Fiorina is already considered a longshot when it comes to both the presidency and raising campaign funds, but she is independently wealthy (remember that $21 million severance package?). She is at least well-off enough to donate all the proceeds from her new book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, to charity.

What is Fiorina’s top priority?

Sticking to her professional roots, Fiorina said that bringing the government up to speed technology-wise is a necessity. She says she will use technology for “zero-based budgeting,” a practice that itemizes government spending.

On abortion: 

Fiorina is against abortion, saying in January 2015, “Liberals believe that flies are worth protecting but that the life of an unborn child is not.” Still, she says she hopes to find “common ground” with liberals on the issue.

On immigration: 

Fiorina’s plans for immigration include: securing the border, making legal changes to immigration policy, and then addressing illegal immigrants who she says should be barred from ever receiving full citizenship if they came to the U.S. as adults, but given a path to citizenship if they came here as children.

On foreign policy: 

During her conference call with reporters, Fiorina expressed opposition to the pending deal with Iran, saying that she would double down on strict economic sanctions against the Middle Eastern country. Meanwhile, she plans to maintain the U.S.’s long-standing relationship with Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

On gay marriage: 

Like many of her fellow Republicans, Fiorina is against gay marriage saying she would, “protect and respect people’s rights” to keep marriage between a man and a woman. However, she is against discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and believes the federal government should not withhold benefits from them.

On climate change: 

While Fiorina doesn’t deny the science behind climate change, she does oppose the accompanying policies. Recently, she’s spoken out against California’s water-use reduction efforts, saying they’re harmful to the state’s economy and ineffective on a global scale.

As always, remember to stay informed, remain curious, and exercise your right to vote.

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