U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is touring the state to promote her agenda for the year ahead. She stopped in western Massachusetts today.
Senator Warren met with about 100 constituents in the lobby of the downtown Springfield building where the senator’s western Massachusetts office is located. Warren spoke about her agenda for the year ahead in Congress, highlighting three priorities—reducing college student loan debt, increasing government funding for medical research and shoring up Social Security.
"Our job, our job together is to make sure our government works not for the rich and powerful , but for us."
This was the second day of a two-day tour by the senator with stops planned to highlight her legislative priorities.
Warren toured Baystate Medical Center in Springfield to highlight her push to double funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
"We do it for economic reasons. Every dollar put into the NIH yields $2.23 in business activity. That's jobs. The second reason we are the threshold of powerfully important discoveries."
The Democrat also met with students at UMass Amherst during her first visit to the UMass flagship campus. Warren is co-sponsor of a bill that would make colleges more accountable for student loan defaults by imposing a financial penalty on schools with high student loan default rates. Warren is also supporting an effort to allow students to refinance their outstanding student loan debt.
" That at least gives them a shot at paying off this debt."
Paul Edwards of Springfield, who spoke with Warren at the senator’s western Massachusetts office, said he supports the agenda Warren is promoting.
" She's committing herself to areas that are very important to the working person."
Sheila Murray, chairperson of the Berkshire Brigades, was one of several Democratic activists at Warren’s meeting with constituents. Murray said she was proud of Warren’s first year in office.
" It is not that common to see a junior senator jump in with both feet, but she did and that is really remarkable. She is doing exactly what she said she would do."
Warren, speaking with reporters, expressed frustration with a Congress that has been one of the least productive in history. She gave herself a grade of “incomplete” but with an “ E” for effort for her first year in the Senate.
" What I've learned is you have to fight for what you believe in. We've had some successes. We've had some parts where I just want to tear my hair out, but there are some places where you can see it start to move and by golly that feels good."
Warren said she found ways to work around the gridlock such as using committee hearings to push banking regulators to enforce existing laws.