VINTON – Democrat presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren brought her message to Benton County Saturday morning for a town hall that became a reference point later in the evening on “Saturday Night Live.”
Warren, fresh from the Liberty and Justice Dinner in Des Moines Friday which attracted 14 candidates, came into the high school dining hall at the top of the Democrat heap along with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Warren is often lampooned for having a plan for everything and a few times told the Vinton audience “I have a ‘plan for that.’”
One of her key plans is Medicare for All, which has drawn comments from fellow candidates that it cannot be paid for and that she has no details.
“To me the big problem of this time in our country is that we need big ideas,” said Warren. “We need big ideas to inspire people to get them to turn out for the caucuses and then to turn out and vote. We need big ideas to be the lifeblood of our party; to show what Democrats and who Democrats will fight for.
“We need big ideas to take back the Senate and to put Mitch McConnell out of a job. ... Just as importantly we need to be willing to fight for those ideas.”
Warren said when they give up on ideas, they also give up on the people whose lives they touch.
“Those people are already in a fight,” said Warren. “People who struggle to pay their medical bills are already in a fight. People crushed by student loan debt are already in a fight.”
Warren said that is the heart of what it means to run for president. It is about the fights to build an America that works for everyone.
After an introduction by Amy Edison of Vinton, a married mother of three, Warren gave a review of the challenges she has faced during her life, finding colleges to complete degrees to become first an educator and then an attorney.
At age 12, her father suffered a serious heath condition and the family lost their station wagon and almost their home before er mother landed a minimum wage job.
Warren had dreamed of being a teacher but dropped out to marry her high school sweetheart.
Warren found a college that cost $50 a semester. She began teaching special needs children at a public school only to lose that job following the birth of her first daughter, Amelia. She later pursued a law degree in a school costing $450 a semester. After earning a degree, she taught at Rugers University for more than 30 years.
She outlined her plans for the country and her vision for the future.
Warren received her greatest applause at mentioning the elimination of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, who has held that position since 2007 and was first elected to the Senate in 1984.
Following the town hall, Warren posed for selfies with anyone who wanted.
The reaction from the crowd was mixed. Edison, an enthusiastic Warren supporter, was nervous in giving the introduction. Her speech only re-emphasized her support for the candidate.
“I know quite a bit about her policies and it meant a lot to me to meet her today,” said Edison.
“She is very sweet and had some awesome moments that were very inspiring. ...”
Edison said Warren’s policies on climate change stand out, an issue important to Edison.
After meeting Warren and posing for a selfie, Edison had tears in her eyes. The candidate complimented her on the speech of introduction.
Renee Lapan-Islas said she was impressed by Warren, who his one of her top two choices. The other is Buttigieg.
“I like what she has a plan on everything,” said Lapan-Islas.
While Warren has been criticized for having a “plan on everything, Lapan-Islas said that does not bother her.
“I am the kind of person that if we have issues coming on we need to have a plan for everyone,” said Lapan-Islas.
Nothing surprised Lapan-Islas about Warren.
“She seemed down to earth like she is on TV,” said Lapan-Islas. “She is passionate about what she is talking about and she seems to know what she is talking about. I think she will take our country in the right direction.”
Lapan-Islas said health care is the biggest issue which concerns her family.”
But, Lapan-Islas is also considering Buttigieg.
“He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He has been in the military so he knows about what has been going on there. I think he is a fair-minded person. She is down to earth.”
Steve Arnold, a Vinton resident, is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“She gives a good speech,” said Arnold,
“I do not have my mind made up on anybody.”
Arnold said she is more genuine that Hilary Clinton.
“I don’t feel that she is expecting a coronation. She is going to fight for what she gets.
“My own views are more moderate than hers.”
The campaign visit garnered Vinton some national recognition.
On SNL (Saturday Night Live) that evening Vinton, Iowa, was the dateline featured on the comedy show’s parody of Warren.
In addition, the campaign stop was covered by members of the national media including the Washington Post, the New York Times and the major broadcast networks.
Warren had planned to campaign door-to-door in Garrison but those plans were cancelled because of scheduling.