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U.S. Senate Hopeful Warren Stumps in North Adams
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:45PM / Friday, February 17, 2012
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Elizabeth Warren packed the house in her first campaign stump in North Adams.


Elizabeth Warren is ready to take on Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat that Brown won in special election in 2010 after Edward Kennedy died.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says the country has turned in the wrong direction and she hopes to right the ship.

Recapping her own story of rising from a middle-class family to success, Warren told more than 300 people at the Eagle's Hall on Friday night that she fears everyone does not have a shot at success and that she wants to make sure they do.

"I worry my story is embedded in time," Warren said. "I am the daughter of a maintenance man who became this fancy pants professor at Harvard."

She grew up in frugal surroundings, started working at at 9 baby-sitting for the neighbor, went to a public university and taught in public schools on her way to teaching economic law at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. But now when she looks around, she fears few can follow her path and that is why she is running for the seat, she said.

"As a country coming out of the Great Depression and really the next 50 years, we made the decision to invest in us, to invest in our children, to invest in our future," Warren said. "In the '80s, we lost our way. We turned in a different direction and look where we are today."
 
Warren said times were booming when the government invested in education, transportation, power and research but those have all taken cuts and, instead, the country is investing in big businesses such as oil, "one of the most profitable industries on Earth."

"We're not investing in our future and that's what draws me into this race," Warren said. "Are we a country that says 'I got mine, the rest of you are on your own' or are we going to be a country that says 'we love success, we think success is terrific, we celebrate success but we believe that everyone, no matter how powerful, no matter how rich has to take a piece of what they've got and pay it forward, to invest so we've got the right conditions in education, infrastructure, power and research so that the conditions will be right so the next kid can make it big."

She also took a shot at what once have been one of the county's largest employers.

"When General Electric is paying zero in taxes at the same time we as a country are saying there is no money for after school programs, young people are going to have to take up more debt to get a college education, seniors have to work and live on less, it's not a question of economics, it's not a question of finance, it's a question of values," Warren said.

In the last 30 years, she said, federal research funds have been cut in half and state college fees have jumped by 350 percent. Meanwhile, as China is investing 9 percent of its gross domestic product in infrastructure and Europe 5 percent, the U.S. is at 2.4 percent, she said.

"At 2.4, we don't only not build a future, we don't hang onto the present," she said.

Warren is expected to be the Democratic candidate to take on incumbent Scott Brown after scaring top-tier Democrats out of the ring; immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco and Boston lawyer James King are still in the primary. She lead the charge in developing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but was over to lead it. She was also chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, a member of the Federal Judicial Education Committee and most recently appointed as assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury on consumer financial protection.

Warren has not been shy about saying she will go Washington and throw her weight around to "rebuild" the middle class by making those investments. That has draw criticism from Brown, who's trying to position himself as a bipartisan aisle-crosser, not a rock-thrower.

Warren says the Wrentham Republican is anything but bipartisan. Brown has voted against three different bills that would have brought jobs to the state, against the DREAM Act and financial reforms that shifted more burden to the taxpayers, she said.

"That's not bipartisan, that's voting against families as I see it," Warren said. "Scott Brown is much more about protecting Wall Street, protecting the biggest corporations. I am here to say that we need to protect our kids and our future."

As for her own ability to reach across the aisle, Warren pointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau development that faced challenges by the "biggest lobbyists in the world." She said she's work with banks and creditors with regulations that protect both the consumer and the banks.

"I know how to work with a lot of people to get something done," Warren said. "This is my first election but it's not my first campaign."

This campaign is also an uphill battle with Brown not only being an incumbent with strong approval numbers but also twice as much money as her, she said. Her campaign strategy is not going to be about buying TV spots but instead a grassroots campaign fueled by word of mouth, she said.

"I need you, starting now, to start talking about this election of 2012, talk about what's at stake, talk about the difference between investing in those who have already made it and investing in our future.Tweet it, Facebook it, if you are old fashioned use the telephone," Warren said.

Warren was joined by the many of the county's politicians. Mayor Richard Alcombright, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, introduced Warren. Also attending were some of the area's Democratic leaders and city councilors, U.S. representative hopefuls Andrea F. Nucifor Jr. and Bill Shein, and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield,  who later took the stage to encourage the crowd to spread the word.



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