U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren spoke with several hundred constituents Monday morning at City Stage in Springfield. State Sen. Eric Lesser introduced Sen. Warren, telling the crowd “we know she persists; she knows how to persist, and she persists on our behalf”.
Sen. Warren began by summarizing the most urgent issues she is fighting in Washington, noting that we now have a government that “works great if you’re a millionaire, billionaire or giant corporation” but does not work for working families.
Warren described Donald Trump’s first budget as a “bonecruncher” for working people. Among these issues is the GOP’s proposed health care act which would drive up costs and shrink coverage for working families while providing a tax cut for the billionaire set. Warren described Donald Trump’s first budget as a “bonecruncher” for working people, commenting particularly on the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which will directly impact local cities and towns, including the funding of Meals on Wheels. Next, the Democrat spoke about Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, noting that his record reflects a pattern of favoring the rights of corporations over the rights of individuals. She then wrapped up the first part of the talk speaking about Trump’s cabinet picks, who all seem to not believe in the basic mission of the agencies they were chosen to lead. Among them Warren named Scott Pruitt, who now heads the EPA, and Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education.
Warren called this the “contagion of Democracy” that is necessary to make the people’s voices heard.The remainder of the time Senator Warren took questions from the audience. The first went to Liz Friedman from Northampton who commented on the incredible amount of organizing she’s seen happening. She asked how best to leverage the energy of these local activist groups to really make a change at both the state and national levels. Sen. Warren first assured the group that “calls, letters, and showing up matter”, and that the grassroots efforts are already having an effect in Washington. She also noted that we can each use our voices to talk to friends and family in states with Republican leadership, and encourage them to speak out. “Activism is one of those things that, you do it and guess what? You’re more likely to do it again”, Warren said, “and when you make a call, your sister is more likely to make a call, and so is your mom, and so is your neighbor”. Warren called this the “contagion of Democracy” that is necessary to make the people’s voices heard.
The Senator fielded other questions on topics ranging from GI benefits, to wealth inequality and student debt, to the Russian influence in the election. “We have to stand up and fight”, the Democrat concluded. “This is truly a moment when the character of our nation is being measured. And the way I see this, the character of a nation is not the character of its president, it is the character of its people. And that’s why we’re gonna win”