Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren formally launched her presidential campaign on Saturday, calling for an end to corruption, the creation of “real structural reform,” and a changing of the rules so that democracy and the economy “work for everyone.”
“We need to put power back in the hands of workers,” she said.
Warren, 69, from Massachusetts, addressed a crowd in the former mill town of Lawrence, where the famous Bread and Roses labor strike occurred by immigrant women workers in the textile industry in 1912.
Earlier this week, Warren had apologized for claiming Native American heritage, an issue that has dragged on for months as an increasing number of Democrats enter the competitive 2020 race. On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a State Bar of Texas registration card in which Warren wrote that her race is “American Indian.” She told the newspaper she is “sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”
As The New York Times noted, Warren already has campaigned in several states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, as well as in Puerto Rico. Among her key policy proposals is a plan to levy a new tax on the country’s 75,000 wealthiest families. The senator proposes a 2% annual tax on households with assets over $50 million and a 3% tax on billionaires.
She also called for bolstering the Internal Revenue Service with more funding to help crack down on tax evasion.
The proposal could generate an additional $2.75 trillion in tax revenue over the next decade, the Times reported.
Part of Warren’s popularity has been her outspokenness against President Donald Trump, who along with his son Donald Trump Jr. has repeatedly attacked the senator with the racist nickname “Pocahontas.”
“No one knows how to get under Donald Trump’s skin better than Elizabeth Warren,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey said Saturday morning before Warren’s announcement speech.
“Give us bread, but give us roses,” Rep. Joe Kennedy III added while introducing Warren to a cheering crowd in Lawrence, one of New England’s least wealthy cities. Long a city of immigrants, Lawrence’s population is now about 80% Latinx, according to the Associated Press.
“Our country needs a leader who will restore the solidarity that Donald Trump stole,” Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, said.
In her speech, Warren related the deep history of the region’s mostly migrant women workers and their efforts to organize, join unions, and fight for fair pay in the last century. She noted the coordination between mill owners at the time and city politicians, and how they are simliar to today’s political and economic structures. “They stuck together and they won,” Warren said of New England’s textile workers. “They won.”
Drawing a parallel to modern economic inequality, Warren said, “Today, millions and millions and millions of American families are also struggling to survive in a system that’s been rigged,” she said. “Like the women of Lawrence, we are here to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”
She called President Trump a “symptom of what’s gone wrong in America.”
“Once he’s gone, we can’t pretend that none of this ever happened…Our fight is for big, structural change,” she added. “I believe in an America of opportunity.”
Watch Warren announce her candidacy:
The senator noted that the current generation is at risk of becoming the first that is worse off overall than their parents.
“We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. Of course we can afford these investments,” she said. “Stop handing out enormous tax giveaways to rich people and giant corporations. Stop refusing to invest in our children.”
She also called for criminal justice reform, a plan to curb climate change (called the Green New Deal), and an end to bigotry promoted and fostered by the White House, among other issues.
Our movement won’t be divided by our differences. It will be united by the values we share,” she said.
An enthusiastic crowd responded with chants of her own words: “Change is coming!”