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Elizabeth Warren Vows to Fight Corporate Interests in Norfolk Stop

Senator Elizabeth Warren at a Norfolk town hall
Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a Norfolk town hall on Friday (Louise Ricks/VPM News)

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren rallied thousands of supporters in Norfolk on Friday night, vowing to take on corporate interests, erase student debt, and tax the rich.

The Massachusetts senator is the latest high profile Democrat to stump in Virginia ahead of crucial November 5 elections. The party is fighting to take control of the state legislature for the first time since 1995.

Warren, who is now tied or leading in most polls, began her remarks by saying Democrats’ big gains in 2017 elections “inspired the nation.”

“Do it again, and inspire us for 2020,” she said.

The sprightly 70-year-old quickly turned to her personal story, which she connected to a worldview of an embattled middle class besieged by the rich, powerful, and well-connected.

“I don’t want a government that works for multinational corporations,” she said. “I want one that works for her families.”

Warren described an Oklahoma childhood thrown into a tailspin after her father had a heart attack, leading to mounting bills and an overworked mother. Her college education, which she said cost $50 a semester, was interrupted when she fell in love and married her first husband. A stint in law school at Rutgers University, for $450 a semester, was interrupted by her second child. She later divorced and remarried.

It was only later, Warren said, that she connected her own struggles to make ends meet to broader political trends.

“What we’ve got to have in this country is big, structural change,” Warren said. “It starts by attacking corruption head on. And I’ve got a plan for that.”

Her proposal includes a litany of liberal priorities: universal health care in the form of Medicaid for All, universal childcare and pre-school, a higher minimum wage, tuition-free college, expanded Pell grants, and the cancellation of student debt.

Warren said she plans to pay for her plan with a controversial wealth tax on people making over $50 million. Critics say her plans are too expensive and unpalatable to moderates.

None of that deterred 19-year-old Old Dominion University student Asia Eure, who is set to vote in her first presidential election next year. Eure said after the rally that she plans to support Warren in Virginia's March 3 primary, citing among other things, Warren's proposal to create free tuition.

“I have three more years left and I’m also planning on going to medical school after," Eure said. “That’s a lot of money!”

Nor was Eure put off by Warren's age, citing President Donald Trump, who is 73.

“If that old man can do it, my girl Elizabeth Warren can definitely do it,” Eure said.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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