August 19, 2022

Democratic presidential candidate makes first stop in Newton

Warren rally draws large crowd

It was standing room only in the Aurora Heights Elementary gym for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s first visit to Newton Saturday evening. After being introduced by State Rep. Wes Breckenridge, D-Newton, Warren went straight into her issues with the Washington, D.C. political scene.

“I come to you today with just one more example of how broken Washington is,” Warren said.

She asked the crowd who among them is dealing with flooding or has a friend or family member experiencing trouble with flood waters. After seeing hands raise into the air, she dove into what did and didn’t happen when working to provide relief by the United State’s government.

“When somebody is hit by a serious storm, by floods, by hurricanes, as Americans we reach out and we help each other. At the federal level, that means we pass disaster assistance for those who have trouble, have problems. And yet flooding in Iowa has been going on now for months and we can’t get a disaster relief package for you,” Warren said. “We need to be doing our part in Washington and it has been delays and political wrangling over and over and over. Finally, on Thursday the Senate got its act together and by a huge majority finally passed a disaster relief bill.”

The bill, however, was held up by one Republican congressman, Warren said.

“So now will it be delayed by a week, by a month, will we have to go back to negotiations?” she said. “That is not right, that is not who we are as Americans and that is why I am in this fight.”

After getting the most pressing issue off the board, Warren gave a brief autobiographic history of herself. Having grown up in Oklahoma with her parents and “the boys,” her three older brothers, she recalled the time in her life when her father could no longer work because of medical issues.

“I remember when we lost our family station wagon,” Warren said. “At night, my mom used to tuck me into bed and that is when they would talk, when they thought I was asleep and that is when I learned words like mortgage and foreclosure.”

She talked about “the dress,” her mother’s formal dress special for weddings, funerals and graduations. After finding her mother pacing and repeating “we will not lose this house,” she said her mother looked at her, put on the dress and got her first job outside of the house at the local Sears.

“That minimum wage job saved our house, but more importantly, it saved our family,” Warren said. “For many years, I thought that was just a story my mom taught me. It was only years later that I came to understand that it wasn’t just the story of my family but the story of millions of people across this country. That no matter how hard it gets, they reach down, find what they need to find and take care of the people they love.”

Moving into her campaign for president, she laid out how she plans to work toward ending corruption in Washington. Leading off the bullet points was ending lobbying “as we know it.” Next, closing the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, making the United States Supreme Courts follow basic rules of ethics and, finally, make everyone who runs for federal office put their tax returns online.

“We need to rewrite a couple of the structural rules of our economy,” Warren said. “These giant corporations have so much power that they just kind-of roll however they want to roll. One way push back against that is we need more power in the hands of workers.”

She also detailed a wealth tax on the “richest fortunes” in the country.

“Here is my proposal, for the $50 millionth and first dollar they have to pitch in two cents,” Warren said. “Two cents for every dollar after that. That’s the basic ideal.”

The funds gathered with her “wealth tax,” she said could then pay for universal childcare for those ages newborn to five, universal pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old, raise the wages for every childcare worker and preschool teacher, pay for public technical school two-year college and four-year college and cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of people.

“Think of the difference that would make in people’s lives,” Warren said.

The event wrapped up with a few questions for the candidate from the crowd before she had face-to-face interaction during a “selfie” time. Newton was Warren’s first stop during a weekend-long trip around the state which also brought her to Oskaloosa, Fairfield, Henry County and Burlington.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com