2020 Hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren Holds Town Hall In Lansing

Jun 6, 2019

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic 2020 hopeful Elizabeth Warren stopped in Michigan Tuesday for the first time. She held a town hall at Lansing Community College where she unveiled a new plan to increase American jobs and fight climate change with what she calls ‘economic patriotism.’ WKAR’s Abigail Censky was at the town hall, she gives WKAR’s Karel Vega the dispatch from Sen. Warren’s first stop in Michigan.

Interview Highlights

She’s got a plan for that

“It's a crowded field of Democratic candidates with over 22 people running, and Senator Warren really markets herself as one of the only candidates with detailed policy agendas for things. She's got receipts for everything. And that's something I heard over and over again, from supporters who lined up outside. When I asked them why they came to hear the senator, that was, ‘she's got a plan.’ I spoke to David Zimny retiree from Lansing after the town hall. He's a retired political scientist, and he said he was most impressed by her attention to detail with her policy plans. ‘I was really excited about all of her policy plans. Because especially at this stage in a campaign, so many people are just trying not to commit themselves trying not to offend anyone. But she does have detailed plans for how to make this a better nation.’

Sen. Warren’s line that she has a, “plan for that” was one of her biggest applause lines of the evening with the crowd of 1700 gathered in the auditorium.

She’s become notable on the 2020 campaign trail for her myriad of detailed policy proposals including a wealth tax to fund initiatives like universal pre-k and student loan forgiveness, anti-corruption bills and a newly introduced plan to fight climate change with American manufacturing.

Over 1500 Warren supporters showed up for Tuesday's town hall at Lansing Community College.
Credit Alec Gerstenberger, WKAR
Introducing ‘Economic Patriotism’

“One of those plans Senator Warren just introduced yesterday, it's part of what she's calling economic patriotism. She's pitching the plan as a way to boost the American economy, stop offshoring jobs and fight climate change by investing in green American tech. Here she is talking about it last night, ‘We're going to need all of the research, all of the innovation, and all of the manufacturing of good green products to help us turn around climate change. And that's why I'm here in Michigan.’”

The plan is three parts and includes increasing investment in research and development of green technologies by 10 times the amount currently invested, committing the federal government to purchasing $1.5 trillion in American produced green technology over the next ten years and creating a new federal office to promote and sell American clean energy technology to other countries.

The crowd looks on while Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at her town hall in Lansing Tuesday. She introduced a new plan called 'economic patriotism' using American manufacturing to boost the economy while fighting climate change as part of her Michigan campaign stop.
Credit Alec Gerstenberger, WKAR
Electability

I talked to some folks who knew they'd vote for Senator Warren in the primary, and others who were still looking around for their 2020 candidate and interested and hearing out what several others have to say. I talked to Katie Marrison. She's in her early 20s, finishing up at MSU, and she was there with her mom. She said for her. It's just exciting to have a larger list of options for progressive Democrats that she's choosing from, but who she will pick will mostly come down to electability, which she's hoping has also changed for this election cycle. This is what Katie had to say, ‘Electability is a huge thing. And I think we kind of take that to kind of mean, I don't know, lately electability has been like an old white guy that's businesses usual. And I think that hopefully that's not necessarily the only thing that's electable anymore.’

Warren has faced questions of electability since she announced her candidacy earlier this year. Questions of ‘likability’ were instantly quashed as sexist, but the question of electability has persisted.

The senator has consistently polled in the third and fourth slot for Democratic primary contenders,trailing behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

As the first democratic debate approaches Warren and other Democrats have begun to float trial balloons of jabs at fellow Democrats, especially the self-cast and often perceived frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Much Ado About Biden

“Just this week, Warren has started to experiment with using kind of veiled references to Biden, one of the questions last night that the crowd asked was if democrats would just end up giving the nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden kind of out of inertia. And this is what Senator Warren had to say to that, ‘But here's the deal. I don't want to be the America of 10 years back or 20 years back, or 30 years back. I want to build a better America. And I think this is our moment to do this our time in history.’”

Follow Abigail Censky on Twitter @AbigailCensky