We were honored to host Elizabeth Warren at our home in Arlington today for a lunch with about 30 local activists. I’ve been an admirer of Warren’s work on bankruptcy and her advocacy to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but I never previously had the opportunity to meet her in person. I was very pleased to discover that the passionate and articulate powerhouse I had seen on TV is also warm, funny and a natural campaigner.
Warren shared some stories about her roots. She is the descendant of Oklahoma pioneers and grew up in what she called the “ragged edge of the middle class.” Ensuring that we have a government and financial system that works for middle class families isn’t just an area of academic study for Warren; it clearly springs from deeply held values and experiences.
Although Warren has not previously run for elected office, she assured us that she is no stranger to campaigning. We have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington today because she built a coalition and campaigned relentlessly – and won – against the politicians and corporate interests that opposed its creation.
Warren wowed our group in Arlington today. The mood of the group was summed up by one veteran activist’s question on why Warren had not yet formally announced her candidacy for Senate: “So what are you waiting for already?”
Warren’s answer was spot on – if I run, she told us, it has to be from the grassroots. Campaigns are about a lot of people coming together. She told us that she needs to know that her message about fighting to preserve the middle class will resonate and that Massachusetts activists are with her. Judging by what I saw today, I think she need have no fear on that score. Go Elizabeth!
Update: here’s a link to a blog posting about another Warren house party in Dorchester on Monday night.
Warren’s listening tour is also covered in the Globe metro section this (Wednesday, August 17) morning. The story, link here, references the Dorchester party, as well as our house party in Arlington, one in Cambridge, one in Lexington, and others planned this week in Framingham, Shrewsbury, New Bedford, Falmouth, Brockton, Springfield, and Pittsfield.