Knoxville hosted another presidential hopeful, this time welcoming Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Nov. 26.
Senator Warren spoke to a crowd of about 90 people at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. Campaign organizers had invited a mix of committed volunteers and persuadable caucus-goers to hear Warren speak in a neighborhood setting prior to the event.
During her visit, Warren discussed the three things she wants to accomplish if she were elected president. The first of those items is to start with attacking corruption head-on.
“We’ve played defense long enough, it’s time to go on offense,” Warren said. “When you attack corruption head-on, then you’ve got a chance to make some other changes, to make this democracy work.
Warren has created the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. She says three of its main pieces include ending lobbying as we know it, making the United States Supreme Court follow basic rules of ethics on conflicts of interest and requiring everyone who runs for federal office to share their tax returns online.
The second item Warren wants to accomplish is making a structural change in the economy. Warren says that giant corporations are a problem in this county because they have too much power. She wants to return the power to the hands of the workers, especially by making unions easier to join and giving them more power in negotiations.
“Unions built America’s middle class and unions will rebuild America’s middle class,” Warren said.
Another aspect of Warren’s plan for structural change is to implement a wealth tax that will affect “the great fortunes in this country.” Warren wants to tax anyone with over $50 million by charging them two cents per every dollar over $50 million. She says this would only impact the top one-tenth of the one percent.
The money from Warren’s proposed wealth tax would go towards creating universal childcare and pre-school, as well as raising the wages of childcare workers. It would allow an $800 billion investment into all public K-12 schools in America. Warren says the tax would also provide free tuition to technical schools, two-year and four-year public universities, while canceling student loan debt for 43 million Americans.
The third and final item Warren wants to accomplish is protecting our democracy. The Senator says she wants a federal law to outlaw political gerrymandering, a rollback on every racist voter suppression law in this country and to overturn Citizens Untied.
“To me, this is about opportunity and who’s going to get opportunity in a 21st century America,” Warren said. “I want to be an America of opportunity for everyone.”
Warren took three questions from members of the audience. Questions touched on the topics of the government’s role in rural America, restoring bureaucracy and campaign reform.
Warren ended her visit to Knoxville by saying, “This is our chance. The door has opened a crack and we need to lower our shoulder and run hard at it and be the America we want to be. It’s time to dream big and fight hard.”
Warren’s visit to Knoxville marked her 79th event in Iowa since the start of campaign.
Hearing Senator Warren speak gave voters a stronger indication of who to support. Valerie Billing, of Pella, has been a supporter of Warren since she entered the race, but says seeing her in person was exciting and reinforced her choice.
“I think she is the candidate with the most substance,” Billing said. “She’s the only candidate with substance, actually. What she said about having real proposals versus kind of nibbling around the edges, I think was a really good descriptor of what sets her apart.”