PERRY — In her first visit to Dallas County, at La Poste in Perry, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that the United States has a chance to change the course of the country by “attacking corruption, changing economic rules, and protecting democracy.”
“I get that the three things I'm asking for are hard,” Warren said during her visit to Perry on Friday. “I get that it's hard, but we can't quit now. We have a chance to dream big and fight hard and win this thing in 2020.”
She is one of more than a dozen Democrats to officially declare their candidacy for their party's presidential nomination in 2020, and just the latest to visit the region ahead of the Feb. 3, 2020, Iowa Caucuses.
On Friday, March 29, Warren said that attacking corruption is possible through systematic change and that the issue must be addressed “head-on.”
“We need big systemic change in this county,” Warren said. “We need to start, in my opinion, with the corruption problem in this country.”
Warren said that by ending lobbying in Washington D.C., stopping a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, and establishing a principle that anyone who wants to run for federal office should make their tax returns public, corruption can be stopped in the United States.
Warren said she plans to change economic rules by changing the national minimum wage for the interest of working families.
“In America today, a full-time minimum wage job will not keep a mother and a baby out of poverty,” Warren said.
She said that instead of matching the national minimum wage to fit the interest of multinational cooperation, the national minimum wage should fit the interest of individuals.
After her opening remarks, Warren took questions from the audience stating, “Every issue that brought you here today, at the intersection of those issues is corruption.”
On the topic of climate change, Warren said, “I believe in science,” and noted that addressing climate change is a matter of urgency.
She voiced support for the proposed environmental stimulus package Green New Deal and said it's vitally important for Iowans because it protects their infrastructure.
“Here in Iowa, think about the floods that came here. How many bridges were destroyed? This is going to keep happening unless we build now and protect our infrastructure,” Warren said.
One of the roughly 100 people in attendance, Manuel Valenzuela, one of two Vietnam veterans from Colorado Springs, Colo., along with his brother Valente travel the country to speak out against the deportation of military personnel.
“So many of our brothers who fight our freedoms, fight for our rights are being stripped of theirs - and I know that Elizabeth Warren is the commander-in-chief that can bring them all back,” Manuel Valenzuela said in an interview with the Perry Chief.
Warren shook Valenzuela's hand and made a vow to him saying, “My promise to you when I'm president of the United States (is that) no veterans will be deported.”
In a further discussion of immigration policies, when asked by Mayor John Andorf about what she would do for immigration, Warren said immigration laws need to reflect American values.
“We need immigration laws that are fair and equitable, keep our families safe, and create a path to citizenship,” Warren said. “We keep families together. We don't separate families.”
Throughout the event, Warren touted her fighting spirit, especially in the political arena.
When asked by an audience member about her “electability” and how she would hold her own against Republican incumbent President Donald Trump in a general election she said, “I know how to fight and I know how to win.”
In a crowded Democratic field that boasts 16 candidates, the Massachussetts senator seemed to stand out for some event-goers.
“What appeals to me about Warren is that she has policies,” said Nancy Hanaman, of Rippey. “We don't need someone who comes in, like our current president, who says I'm going to do all this and doesn't have a plan of any kind and decides to put something together later.”
Debby Wicks, of Perry, said “I thought she did a great job here and she was to the point. There were some things about her that I didn't even realize. I didn't realize she was an educator and I thought that was interesting. I believe that we need some help with the education system and the environment and the corruption, everything that she said.”
Other event-goers are taking a wait-and-see approach in such a large and diverse field.
“I'm at the beginning stages. This isn't my first rodeo,” said Chris Siebrasse, a retired dentist from Stuart. “Every four years we go out and we listen to the candidates and we make our choice. So that's where I am.”
Allison Ullmann of the Perry Chief contributed to this story.