Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential bid in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday morning, becoming the first sitting U.S. senator to back Sanders.
“After considering the biggest challenges facing our nation and the future I want for my children and our country, I have decided to become the first member of the Senate to support my colleague Bernie Sanders for president,” Merkley wrote in the op-ed.
The Oregon senator said that the “economy, both by accident and design, has become rigged to make a fortunate few very well off while leaving most Americans struggling to keep up.” He praised Hillary Clinton, but said that Sanders is “boldly and fiercely addressing the biggest challenges facing our country.”
“It has been noted that Bernie has an uphill battle ahead of him to win the Democratic nomination. But his leadership on these issues and his willingness to fearlessly stand up to the powers that be have galvanized a grass-roots movement,” he wrote. “People know that we don’t just need better policies, we need a wholesale rethinking of how our economy and our politics work, and for whom they work.”