By Susannah Sudborough
BU News Service
ROXBURY, MA- Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on democrats to head to the voting booths on November 6th, as a way to help politicians tackle the issues they cared about.
“We want the White House, but to get the House and the Senate is to make the down payment,” said Sen. Warren during her opening remarks at a town hall event in Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, on Saturday. Oct. 13.
The senator showed confidence that the upcoming election will give democrats the opportunity to legislate on issues that have been set aside by the Republican majority in Congress, such as immigration reform, education funding cuts, rising healthcare costs and climate change.
“It’s tough in Washington right now,” Sen. Warren said. “But it’s only twenty four days now. Twenty four days and I can’t wait. Twenty four days and we’re coming, Donald Trump.”
When commenting on local issues, the senator expressed her support for both the National Grid and Marriott workers strikes that have persisted over the past couple of weeks in Massachusetts. She also urged voters across the state to vote yes on state ballot question three, a vote to keep a 2016 law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public spaces.
“Yes on three means no on hate,” Sen. Warren said.
The senator also made bold statements against the high cost of prescription drugs, increasing housing costs, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, the fossil fuel industry, the NRA, and corruption in Washington.
In a press conference after the town hall, Sen. Warren rebuffed Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court and the hearing process that lead to it.
“I watched eleven powerful men help another powerful man into an even more powerful position,” said Sen. Warren. “I watched Dr. Ford, I believed her. I watched Brett Kavanaugh testify. And I truly thought his testimony disqualified him all on its own.”
Notably, the senator did not make any mention of a presidential campaign in 2020, to the disappointment of some audience members.
“I wanted to hear whether she’d run for president in 2020,” said Toy Burton of Roxbury. “She’s a great speaker and I love what she has to say.”
The location of the event was also a focal point of attention. A historically black populated neigborhood of Boston, Roxbury has increasingly captured the interest of local politicans, especially democrats, who want to be more engaged with minorities.
When asked why she chose Roxbury, Sem. Warren explained that she often visits the neighborhood and wanted to talk to the people there about the hopes she has for the midterm elections.
Multiple attendees were pleased to see the town hall held in Roxbury, but some were unhappy that the neighborhood’s residents were unrepresented among people chosen to ask the senator questions.
“I was not crazy about the lottery format for picking people to ask questions,” said Doug Chavez of Boston. “We were here in Roxbury but we didn’t hear from any local people. A guy from Washington state got to ask one, but not us Bostonians.”
Many other Massachusetts democrats joined Sen. Warren in urging democratic voters to support the candidate’s reelection bid for the U.S. Senate, including Mass. state Rep. Chynah Tyler, City Councilor Kim Janey and Ayanna Pressley, who will run uncontested to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 7th district of Massachusetts.
Rachel Rollins, the democratic candidate for Suffolk County district attorney, delivered a powerful message of criminal justice reform, citing the problem of a high recidivism rate.
“We have to think about how to prevent homicides, not just react to them,” Rollins said.
Rollins also spoke about community healing in regards to racism in the criminal justice system. She recounted colleagues who she had previously urged to run for the office of district attorney deciding not to run because they were afraid they would be responsible for imprisoning African American citizens. She asserted that Suffolk County needs a district attorney who is sensitive to this issue.
“Both sides are affected when a homicide happens,” Rollins said. “One family loses their loved one forever. The other loses their loved one to the prison.”
During audience questions, Sen. Warren spoke specifically of three different pieces of legislation she has championed in regards to issues that affect Massachusetts voters.
The first, called the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Bill, allows consumers to buy otherwise expensive hearing aids over the counter for a much smaller price. The bill was signed into law last year by President Trump.
The second, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, would allocate more federal funds for building low and middle income housing, give local governments funds for city projects in return for loosening zoning restrictions and raise state taxes to cover the cost of the first two provisions. Sen. Warren proposed the bill in September and it has yet to be voted on.
The third, called the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, aims to end economic conflicts of interest for people in public office and increase transparency in the federal government. The bill was introduced by Sen. Warren in August and has not yet been addressed in Congress.
Sen. Warren concluded by asking people to use the hurt they feel at the Trump administration’s policies as motivation to vote and take action for democrats.
“This is our chance to turn pain into power.”