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Elizabeth Warren talks middle class in Las Vegas visit

Updated February 17, 2019 - 8:38 pm

Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the stage in front of an American flag backdrop Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, the seventh stop in an eight-city tour to kick off her 2020 presidential bid.

“I thought what I’d do today is I’d just tell you a little about myself and talk about what brings me here,” Warren told a crowd of about 500 at the Springs Preserve.

Warren told attendees, who held up “Warren for Nevada” signs handed out by campaign staff, about growing up in a home where her mother supported the family with a minimum wage job after her father suffered a heart attack that took him away from his work.

“America isn’t working for working families any longer, and that’s what we have to change,” she said.

The Massachusetts senator outlined goals of drawing lines between the federal government and funding from corporations, increasing access to affordable housing and eliminating lobbying. Her speech centered on rebuilding the middle class, an issue outlined on her campaign website.

She suggested implementing a 2 percent tax on those with more than $50 million in assets to help pay for those goals.

“This is about everybody pays a fair share and everybody gets opportunity to build a real future,” she said.

Lisa Hendricks, a campaign and volunteer coordinator with Moms Demand Action, a gun safety advocacy group, introduced Warren on Sunday. She shared a personal anecdote as a survivor of domestic violence. A previous partner held a gun to her head and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t work, and she fled, Hendricks told the crowd.

“My life was saved by a malfunctioning gun, but it should have been saved by background checks,” she said, applauding Gov. Steve Sisolak for signing a bill Friday that will require background checks on private gun sales in Nevada starting in 2020.

“Sen. Warren has always been an ally to the gun violence prevention movement and a strong supporter of survivors,” Hendricks said.

Warren took questions at the close of her speech, touching on issues including climate change, funding for Planned Parenthood and immigration. She expressed her support for the Green New Deal, a resolution introduced this month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., that aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s going to be a lot of pieces, and it’s going to be a big and noisy debate … but it can’t be a long debate,” said Warren, a former law professor who was elected to the Senate in 2013. “This is the part that really has me worried. We’re running out of runway on this one.”

She voiced her support for universal childcare and a “Medicare-for-all” policy, a term widely used by Democrats as a synonym for single-payer health care.

Warren came under fire and has been mocked by President Donald Trump for identifying as Native American and for taking a DNA test to prove it. She has apologized to Cherokee Nation leaders.

Warren on Sunday called Trump’s administration the “most corrupt administration in living memory.”

In response to questions from reporters, Warren said she’s prepared to fend off attacks from Trump should they battle for the presidency in 2020.

“I think I’ve been going toe-to-toe with President Trump for a while,” she said. “I’m not afraid of him.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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