Miranda Alam/Special to the Sun
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 | 6 p.m.
The 2020 campaign machine has made its first stop in Las Vegas
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., stopped in Las Vegas this afternoon to speak to a crowd of around 500 people at Springs Preserve on minimum wage, climate change, income inequality and more.
Warren was introduced by Lisa Hendricks, an organizer with of Moms Demand Action, a group that testified in support of the recent background check bill that this week passed through the Nevada Legislature.
“About 10 years ago, when I was breaking up with a man, he grabbed me and held a gun to my head while I was trying to leave his apartment,” Hendricks said. “He whispered in my ear ‘do you think it’d be loaded, or not?’ I heard a click and then I heard him say ‘what the?’”
Hendricks said the man bought two firearms without a background check. She was fortunate to escape.
She touted Warren’s record on gun violence, listing bills the Senator signed or cosigned, such as the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act and the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act of 2018.
Warren’s opening comments included a celebration of Nevada’s shift from right to left in the last fall’s midterm election, bringing a near Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, and only one Republican member of the state’s delegation in Washington.
“Let me just start by saying how terrific it is to be with the people who turned Nevada from red to blue,” she said.
The rally focused intensely on income inequality and what Warren called a federal government more interested in working for multinational corporations rather than small families. She said she would fight the Citizens United ruling, a landmark case that changed the rules around corporations’ campaign contributions, and would propose a 2 percent marginal tax on wealth over $50 million.
Warren touted her working-class upbringing — her father was injured and her mother worked a minimum-wage job later in life to make ends meet — as an example of a scenario that she said the government has ignored.
“When my mama walked into Sears and got a minimum-wage job, a minimum-wage job win America would support a family of three,” Warren said. “Today a minimum-wage, full-time job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty. That is wrong and it’s why I’m in this fight.”
Warren also said she would fight for Medicare for All (an increasingly popular position in the Democratic primary fight), Planned Parenthood funding and climate change fixes. She also said she has a proposal in the works to increase access to childcare.
She spoke in support of the Green New Deal, a Democratic proposal to force change in some areas of the economy, to fight what she says is a crisis. Warren said she was ready to begin passing legislation.
“We’re going to have to start passing it in pieces … we’re running out of runway, it’s bearing down on us,” she said.
Warren criticized the past practice of redlining, where banks kept black and white neighborhoods segregated by not loaning money to black families for homes. A homeowner can then accrue wealth over generations by passing down property that increases in value — a process that disproportionately and egregiously benefitted white citizens.
“This is our chance to make America work, not just for a thin slice at the top, but work for all of us,” she said.
Warren has faced an increasingly crowded field in the Democratic primary race — there are 11 declared candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris and Sherrod Brown, both of whom will visit Las Vegas in the coming weeks. Warren has been one of the most outspoken critics of President Donald Trump’s administration, which she labeled as the most corrupt in history at today’s event.
Warren has clashed with Trump on numerous occasions, namely over Warren’s past claims of Native American ancestry. Those claims drew rebukes from the Cherokee Nation, which led to an explanation from Warren that she wasn’t identifying as a member of a tribe, a cultural and historical designation that requires more than a DNA test.
It has also drawn criticism from Trump, who has repeatedly used the insult “Pocahontas” in reference to Warren and sent tweets that many say made light of the Wounded Knee massacre and the Trail of Tears.