Rick Santorum has officially entered the race to become the next United States president. On Wednesday afternoon the former Republican senator formally announced his plans to fight for the GOP nomination in 2016. He declared his candidacy at an event near his childhood home in Cabot, Pennsylvania, where he gave a speech touching on issues like the economy and immigration. Santorum said he'd help voters "take back America."

"Working families don't need another president tied to big government or big money, and today is the day we are going to begin to fight back," Santorum told a cheering crowd. "I am running for president of the United States."

Santorum, 57, was a prominent candidate in 2012 before dropping out of the race and conceding to eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney in April before the election. He'd won 11 state primaries and 4 million votes. Santorum didn't give a specific reason for suspending his campaign but made the announcement after his terminally ill daughter, Bella, contracted pneumonia.

Earlier Wednesday, Santorum told ABC News that he was "ready to do this again." Later in the day, he stood on stage with his family -- his wife, Karen, and six of his seven children -- and vowed to "change the nation."

"I promise you we will regain the title of leader in world manufacturing," he elaborated at his news conference. "We will shrink the government. We will reduce spending. We will revoke every executive order and regulation that costs American jobs."

Before his quests for the presidency, Santorum spent four years serving in the House of Representatives and 12 years in the Senate. At the end of his tenure he was the Senate's third-highest-ranking Republican, supporting limited welfare benefits, anti-abortion legislation and freedom of religion in the workplace, Bloomberg reported.

In his 2016 bid, Santorum said Wednesday he wants to cut corporate taxes and income taxes, support Israel, reduce immigration levels and uphold traditional marriage values, according to his website. He wants to "drive a stake in the heart" of Common Core education standards and defeat the Islamic State group, he said.

"I will take money and power out of Washington and put it back where our Constitution says it belongs -- in the people who earned it," he said.

Recent national polls compiled by the Huffington Post put support for Santorum at about 2 percent, falling behind likely contenders Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul for the Republican nomination.