I have looked up to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, since 2013. She is a trailblazer who grew up in a family that faced economic challenges but surpassed the odds through hard work, persistence and seizing opportunities. As a result, she has dedicated her career to expanding opportunities in the United States to help people who are often shut out of our government. I am voting for Warren for the following five reasons, and I hope that you will too in the California Democratic primary.
First, Warren cares, listens, brings people together and holds herself accountable.
Warren understands the importance of listening to others and learning from the lived experiences of people. Black Womxn For has endorsed Warren for president because she is committed to a collaborative policy-making process through a People’s Policy Making Summit and to accountability procedures that will be ratified at this summit.
I have witnessed firsthand how Warren takes the time to listen to every person who attends her events. In summer 2019, when I was working as an intern for her campaign in Reno, Nevada, I saw the excitement in people’s faces as they were waiting to take a picture and speak with Warren.
Warren’s campaign is not driven by political consultants. Instead, her campaign is fueled by grassroots consultants, exemplified by the mile-long selfie lines at her events.
Second, Warren has the qualifications and experience to be our next president.
Warren has taught at several law schools, led a congressional panel to hold government officials accountable for managing the bailout of the banks after the 2008 crisis, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau so that our government protects and empowers consumers, served as an adviser to former president Barack Obama and currently serves as a senator on several key committees that oversee issues such as national security and financial regulation. These extensive experiences in government will make Warren an effective president because she knows how to use the levers of power in our government and maximize their impact for the people.
Third, Warren has extensive plans to rewrite the rules of our society in an equitable manner.
Warren understands that too many people are struggling to get by in our country and that they need our government to work for them. When Warren advocates for economic policies that will uplift people across the United States, it is personal to her because she knows what it is like for families to “be one pink slip, or one medical diagnosis away” from disaster.
At the same time, Warren understands that people of color have purposely been shut out of economic opportunity in the United States due to the systemic discrimination that plagues our society. That is why the policies that Warren supports have a racial justice component to them. Her campaign has assembled A Working Agenda for Black America to root out systemic discrimination and provide a pathway to opportunity for communities of color.
Fourth, Warren does not just talk about making change, she has a proven track record of turning policy ideas into reality.
Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, Warren came up with an idea to create a government agency focused on protecting people from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices by financial institutions. When Warren was fighting in Washington, D.C. to create the CFPB, the financial industry was spending more than $1.4 million a day to defeat any legislation that would strengthen oversight, increase transparency or protect consumers.
Warren worked against the odds to ensure that the CFPB was established through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Thanks to Warren’s relentless efforts, the CFPB has handled more than 1.2 million complaints and provided $12 billion in relief for more than 29 million harmed consumers.
Unsurprisingly, Warren knows how to accomplish the policy goals she has laid out in her presidential campaign. She will enact her comprehensive Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act to ensure that money in politics and corruption do not stand in the way of progress. Moreover, she will push to abolish the filibuster in the Senate to prevent a minority of senators from obstructing her agenda. After all, Republicans in 2017 invoked the nuclear option to abolish the filibuster for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees. Warren will also adopt Frances Perkins’ model of change; Perkins “worked the political system relentlessly from the inside while maintaining a sustained movement to apply pressure from the outside.”
Finally, Warren is the candidate who can defeat a president with a history of corrupt, racist, sexist and xenophobic actions. In November 2012, Warren defeated a Republican incumbent who had previously ran against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and became the first female senator to represent Massachusetts. In one of the latest Democratic debates, Warren demonstrated that she is the most potent candidate who can defeat a billionaire with a history of sexist remarks and racist policies by delivering a devastating takedown of Michael Bloomberg.
A vote for Warren is a vote to rewrite the rules so that our government starts to work for all members of our society. “Big, structural change” is not just a slogan, it is what must be done if we want to improve the trajectory of our country. “Let’s dream big, fight hard, and win.”
Francesco Arreaga is a second year at UC Berkeley School of Law. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Chinese from UCLA.