Talking to teachers.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) made her first campaign stop as a declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate in the state yesterday meeting with members of the American Federation of Teachers at Plumbers Union Local 690 Hall in Northeast Philadelphia.
Speaking to a closed room of teachers and students, Warren discussed the benefits of her proposed wealth tax and the importance of having an education secretary that taught in public school.
Warren talked about the vital role teachers play in society and brought up her stint teaching special education in New Jersey early in her career.
“This is not a job,” Warren said talking about teachers, specifically special education. “It’s a calling.”
Since Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012, she has spent a great deal of time talking about student loan debt and the price of higher education. She pushed her proposed 2 percent wealth tax on $50 million or more that would go towards funding her plan of forgiving 95% of student loan debt, free two and four year public colleges, increased funding of public schools, universal child care, increasing the wages of teachers and more funds for historically black colleges.
“This is all cumulative for 2 cents,” Warren said about the proposed wealth tax and plans to funds these programs. “We can do all of this.”
Perhaps the loudest applause of the afternoon came when Warren talked about nominating an education secretary that taught in public schools and rallied against the work of current Education Sec. Betsy DeVos.
“I will name as President of the United States a secretary of education who has been a public school teacher,” Warren said. “No more Betsy DeVos.”
“I want someone who is committed to public education. I want someone who has seen tattered textbooks or tried to manage when there are too many kids in a classroom,” Warren continued.
During the Q&A part of the event, Warren answered questions about her plans to unite the country and how she plans to reach voters from across the aisle as well to defeat President Donald Trump.
The AFT has yet to endorse a candidate in the race, but AFT President Randi Weingarten provided some high praise for Warren as she opened up for her during the event.
“I’m trying to be very, very careful to not put my finger on the scale in any way, but it’s hard to not be as fulsome in the introduction I’m about to do for Sen. Warren because Sen. Warren has been a friend of students and educators,” Weingarten said according to WHYY.
Warren’s visit is the beginning of a busy week for 2020 hopefuls stopping in the keystone state. Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to rally in Philadelphia this Saturday for his “campaign kickoff event” at Eakins Oval. President Donald Trump is holding a rally on Monday in Montoursville, the day before the special election in the 12th Congressional District.
Warren is now the fourth declared Democratic candidate to make a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. Former Vice President Joe Biden held his first public event as a declared candidate in Pittsburgh rallying union support. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made multiple campaign appearances in PA, stopping in two counties that swung to Trump in 2016, along with participating in a Fox News Town Hall. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke was the first declared 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful to stop in PA at State College in March.
The Pennsylvania GOP issued a statement about Warren’s visit in Philadelphia criticizing her support for the Green New Deal, universal healthcare and student loan debt, while trying to tie her proposals into the recent actions of state Rep. Brian Sims berating protesters in front of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia.
“With her support for the $93 trillion Green New Deal, the $32 trillion government takeover of healthcare, and a recent proposal to wipe out student loan debt, it is clear that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not only out of touch, but so out of reason that one has to wonder if she’s ever taken a course in economics,” said PAGOP Chair Val DiGiorgio in a statement. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s support for these outrageous concepts begs the question of whether or not she supports the recent despicable actions by Rep. Brian Sims when he harassed, intimidated, and bullied those peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights in front of a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood Clinic.”
Although the event was not open to the public, the conversation with Warren was live streamed on the AFT’s Facebook page.
The full event with Warren can be seen in the video below.