Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren visited FMU’s Performing Arts Center (PAC) for a campaign rally and meet-and-greet on Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
Warren was introduced by Florence democratic party chair Mattie Thomas and district 77 representative Kambrell Garvin.
“As I began to examine who I wanted to support, I looked at each candidate,” Garvin said. “I found one candidate that I believe could inspire a nation. I found one candidate that I believe talks about not just tinkering around the edges, but a candidate that fundamentally believes our system needs to work for everyday Americans. I found a candidate that has challenged America to dream big and fight hard, and that candidate is Elizabeth Warren.”
Warren’s platform is centered around bettering public education, securing rights for the LGBTQ+ community, combating climate change, empowering labor unions and creating affordable universal healthcare.
Warren visited Florence to tell potential voters about herself, why she is in the presidential race, answer questions from the public and pose for photos.
Warren was born and raised in Oklahoma; she grew up in a struggling middle-class family, which is why she believes the economy should be reformed to better serve low- and moderate-income families. Her mother worked a full-time, minimum wage job in order to support their family.
“I came to understand that same story is also a story about government,” Warren said. “When I was a girl, a full-time minimum wage job in America would support a family of three. It would pay a mortgage, it would cover utilities and it would put food on the table. Today, a minimum wage in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty – that is wrong and that is why I am in this fight.”
Warren also discussed the changes in government and its growing lack of consideration for families, and the focus of large corporations and businesses on maximizing profit. She has three older brothers who were out of the home when she was growing up that went on to serve in the U.S. military. However, Warren had a different plan for herself and how she would make a difference.
“I’ve known what I wanted to be since second grade and I never varied from it,” Warren said. “I wanted to be a public school teacher. By the time I graduated from high school, we didn’t have the money for a college application, much less to send me off to four years of
Warren eventually found a way to attend college and after obtaining her teaching degree, she returned to law school. She became a special education teacher in an elementary school and later lectured in law schools. Her experience in the classroom and her struggle to pay for college motivate her to improve public education and eliminate crippling student debt.
Ryan Hilbourn, a senior education major at FMU, believes Warren’s plans and intentions are clear. As an aspiring school teacher, she values her commitment to public education.
“I think her plan is clear; I like her ideas,” Hilbourn said. “A lot of people say they’re going to fix the financial side of things, but I think she’s thought about it a lot. She’s one of the few people who doesn’t have any scandals or drama following her – I actually like her.”
Warren described the corruption she feels has taken over Washington and the government in the past few decades and how she intends to confront it. She expressed her desire to have the opportunity to eliminate the influence money has on the American government through political campaigns and lobbyists. She especially emphasized how monetary donations have influenced the government’s approach to climate change.
“They could say, ‘You know what, we get it. We get where the future’s going, we’re going to stop doing carbon-based fuels,’” Warren said. “No. They don’t do that. You know what they invest in? Politicians. They invest in Washington. They invest in influence. Why do they do that? It’s not because they don’t understand science. Understand this: you want to understand the climate crisis in America and in this world today, it is 25 years of corruption in Washington that got us here.”
Warren highlighted all of these points to explain how she wants to attack the corruption in Washington and instill real structural change within the American government.
“I have the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate,” Warren said. “Part one: end lobbying as we know it. Here’s another one: block the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Here’s one you may never have thought about, but matters: make the United States Supreme Court follow basic rules of ethics.”
Warren believes the next president needs to be prepared to disturb things, break up corruption, create balance within the system and protect democracy.
“I’m here because I got the opportunity,” Warren said. “Dream big. Fight hard. Let’s win.”