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Elizabeth Warren Visits PSU

By Samantha Latos and Mason Masotta
On March 1, 2019


Upon walking into Heritage Commons, the song “Won’t Back Down” played over propped up speakers. The iconic song by Tom Petty served as a starting anthem for the day's overall message. On Saturday, February 23rd, 2020 Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren visited Plymouth State University. Senator Warren took the stage along with her husband Bruce and their dog before her energy skyrocketed on the microphone. Her words were impassioned with a hope for change and for progress to win the day.

Warren shared a brief recollection of her childhood, one that she claimed was, “The story of millions.” Her family of six lived from paycheck to paycheck. Her father survived a heart attack, but could not work for a long time. After they lost the family car, Warren’s mother got her first job outside their home at fifty years old. She dug up courage and did what needed to be done, leaving a lasting impact on Warren. She got her first minimum wage job and saved the family house. “If you want to know who I am, there it is,” Warren said, “That’s the story written on my heart forever and ever.” Many baby boomers look back on an America where minimum wage jobs accomplished heroic feats like that. Today, a minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the country; the economy is one of the biggest issues that Warren wishes to try and fix.

She elaborated on her belief that there are three causes for major systemic change. First, she declared she’ll call out corruption in Washington and attack it head-on. Warren claimed that the American middle class has been, “hollowed out.” According to her, that started in Washington. “It’s a government that works fabulously for those at the top, and isn’t working for anyone else,” Warren said, “It’s a government that works fabulously for giant drug companies, just not for people who are trying to get a prescription filled.” She claimed she has the biggest anti-corruption bill since Watergate in the works.

Second, she argued for a balanced economy. She spoke of distributing power to employees to combat big-name corporations running over consumers and towns. She voiced her passion for bringing down student loan debt, free healthcare, and her own plan known as the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act. This new act would increase locally-licensed child care, preschool, and in-home childcare options, and pay child care and preschool workers the same rates as public school teachers. Warren argued that limited access to childcare is prohibiting parents from getting jobs. According to that mentality, government-funded childcare and early education would result in more working Americans.

Thirdly, Senator Warren made it clear that ensuring votes were counted and elections remained untampered would be essential. Along with this, was her urging that campaigns be funded by the people and not giant corporations looking to influence politics for their own gain. The Senator commented on this as a major concern she shares with the rest of her party, specifically with how it affects policymaking in Congress, “When government works only for those with money, that is corruption, and we need to call it out.”

Paige Schoppmann, PSU student and former Campus Organizer at the New Hampshire Democratic Party, monitored the Q&A portion of the day. “It was amazing to work with the Senator,” she said, “She and her staff were welcoming, kind, and extensively clear with the expectations of me and the rest of the volunteers.”

It felt like a routine Q&A; those who wanted to ask a question picked a ticket. Paige chose tickets at random and called out the numbers like a raffle. She called three numbers at a time, for three rounds. A memorable participant was a little girl who introduced herself to Warren as Ellie. The room cheered when she said, “My real name’s Elizabeth too.” Ellie quickly became the star of the day when she prepared not one, but three questions for the Senator.

Working behind-the-scenes with the Warren campaign was a great opportunity for Paige to get involved in. “I think the biggest thing I learned from the experience was the importance of listening to every candidate, regardless of if you think they'll be the one who wins,” Paige said, “I learned a lot about Warren's platform that I would not have known from the headlines and NY Times articles that come through my newsfeed.”

Warren has a sarcastic flair about her, and she knows her “base,” in Paige’s words. She’s skilled at articulating her points to audiences in her speeches. Paige shared an observation:

“For example, I saw her speak the night before, and she opened up her statement about pushing for universal childcare. As a New Hampshirite, I did what anyone in politics would do, crossed my arms, and thought to myself "ok, how?" Before I could even finish the thought, the Senator said, “And I know that I'm in New Hampshire, so let me break it down for you about how we can get universal child care done." This showed me that not only is she prepared for this race, but she is aware of her base and aware of how to get people listening to her. The speeches I've seen from her have shown that she doesn't just say speeches that are cookie-cutter speeches filled with buzzwords but rather talks to the voters as what they are: informed adults who need facts to back up the sentimental speeches.”

Paige wanted The Clock to clarify that her involvement with Warren’s event(s) and this article is not indicative of an endorsement by her to any candidate.

Warren ended her speech by stating that she was well aware that the fight for these changes will be difficult. To counter this, she referenced previous successful battles against oppression in this country. Among these references were the early suffragettes, the leaders of the labor movement, the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement, and the gay activists who wanted equal marriage. They were all told that what they were fighting for was too hard. “Every one of them organized and persisted, stayed in the fight and changed the course of American history,” she said. The audience roared with applause. She had to yell into her microphone that she was in this fight with all of us.


A line to get a photo with Warren formed at the far left of the room. She greeted every guest with a smile, handshake, and pose. She was able to break away from the line in time to answer one question for The Clock. She had these words of wisdom for Plymouth State students approaching the 2020 election:

“Get in the fight. This is the big one. We are coming to point in America where we can’t just roll things forward with a little bit here and a little bit there. Either we’re going to be an America that is truly about the rich and the powerful, and everybody else just hangs on by their fingernails, or we’re going to be an America that truly invests in opportunity, not just for people born into wealth and power, but for everyone. I’m in this fight because I lived opportunity. My daddy ended up as a janitor. I got a chance because of a commuter college that cost fifty dollars a semester. That opportunity is just not available to your generation, and that’s wrong. There is so much that is coming to a head right now: on climate, on our economy, on our democracy, and it’s all on your generation where the impact is going to be felt forever. So don’t let this one pass you by.”

She addressed the upcoming series of elections, “I so much want us to be a country that believes in the worth of every person. That’s why I’m in this fight. I just hope I can get as many people as possible in it along with me. Not just to get elected, but to get elected and to make real change.” This next presidential race is sure to be thrilling, as there are a lot of current political, economic and environmental issues up for debate.

The Democratic candidates have all voiced plans for large-scale government reforms. “I'm excited to see how all of the candidates do in the coming months,” Paige said.

The Plymouth community is encouraged to stay active during this race. Take note of the upcoming election dates: February 26th: Consolidated Primary Election, April 2nd: Consolidated General Election, March 17th, 2020: General Primary Election.

The General Election will be on November 3rd, 2020. PSU students can find an easy route to voting at Plymouth Regional High School. Transportation will be provided at no costs to students.

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