Who is Marianne Williamson? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson says she’s running for president to heal the country’s soul.

The bestselling author, lecturer, and activist is calling for a "spiritual awakening" to rid American politics of corporate interests and to end wealth inequality, environmental exploitation, and war. "We have a crisis in our democracy," Williamson said at her CNN town hall. "We've been sliding for the last 40 years away from democracy and into aristocracy, because of tax policies, because of corporate subsidies, because of the nefarious influence of money on our political system."

In 1983, Williamson began lecturing on A Course in Miracles, a non-denominational self-study curriculum for spiritual transformation. Then, during the HIV/AIDS crisis, she provided counseling and food to patients in Los Angeles.

Williamson published her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles,’ and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has since written a dozen more books and gained an international following. In her political debut in 2014, Williamson ran as an independent in California’s 33rd congressional district. She lost with 13.2% of the vote.

Williamson’s platform includes paying reparations to the descendents of slaves, overhauling the public education system, and combating climate change. She has said that the country needs to "wage peace" instead of investing in preparation for war. She supports progressive policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Williamson said that other Democratic candidates focus too much on the symptoms of the country’s problems, while she talks about root causes. President Donald Trump is one of those symptoms, according to Williamson. "I think we need a president who has a sense of the psychological, emotional, and even philosophical dimensions of what is truly out of whack in this country," she said. "We should not run this country like a business. We should run this country like a family."

Name: Marianne Williamson

Current occupation: Author and public speaker

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: None

Key positions: Condemned Israeli settlements as illegal; spoke out against the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia

State and local offices: None

Private sector work: Counselor at Center for Healing, founder of Project Angel Food, co-founder of The Peace Alliance

Military: None

Books authored: "A Return to Love," 1992; "Illuminata," 1993; "A Woman’s Worth," 1993; "Healing the Soul of America," 1997; "Enchanted Love," 1999; "Everyday Grace," 2002; "The Gift of Change," 2004; "The Age of Miracles," 2007; "A Course in Weight Loss," 2010; "A Year of Miracles," 2011; "The Law of Divine Compensation," 2012; "Tears to Triumph," 2016; "A Politics of Love," 2019

Education: dropped out of Pomona College after studying theater and philosophy for two years

Birth date: July 8, 1952

Personal life: One child

Religion: Jewish

Top issues: Child advocacy, economic inequality, climate change, gun control, reproductive rights

Miscellaneous: She plans to assemble a council of African-American leaders to distribute $200 billion to $500 billion over 20 years in reparations to benefit the descendants of slaves.

Other coverage: PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter; CNN Town Hall, April 2019; interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, April 2019; profile in The Washington Post Magazine, February 2019; interview on CBS News, November 2018

Campaign website: https://www.marianne2020.com/