Updated: Mar 1, 2020
NFN writer Stacy Fitzgerald backs Sen. Elizabeth Warren for President, saying she fights for such issues as income inequality, education, social justice, and climate change. Seventh in a series by NFN writers about their choices.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren stood ahead of the pack for me very early on because of her position on the issues I care about the most.
In this age of fake news and real global political, economic and public health crises, I’d still like to think that people study the issues, weigh both sides and make an informed, rational decision about which of the candidates support the issues they care about most. I know that’s what I did.
My top issues are things that I think the majority of the country can relate to: income inequality, the economy, education, social justice, climate change and securing our Democracy.
Sen. Warren is keenly aware of the impact of income inequality on Americans, particularly Americans of color. She supports efforts to close the wealth gap through a variety of policy initiatives that can have a real impact.
These include maintaining current protections against racial discrimination in lending;
advocating for access to free, quality college education and allowing some student loans to be forgiven, for example if the student works as a teacher or for a government agency. These are pragmatic approaches that can have a real impact on closing the wealth gap in America and ending the decline of the middle class.
Sen. Warren believes America has both a short-term and long-term jobs issue that is weighing on the economy. She supports a small tax increase on those making more than $1 million a year to pay for critical infrastructure work that will produce long-term jobs for Americans.
She also has a long history as an advocate for consumers, having sponsored the legislation that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which seeks to eliminate banking and financial services practices harmful to consumers. She has long been a champion of the people on these important financial and economic issues.
Sen. Warren also advocates increasing the federal minimum wage to $15.00/hr., which will give many Americans living below the federal poverty line a better shot at a decent quality of living.
On education, Sen. Warren advocates for world-class public education. She believes American teachers should have a livable wage and thus supports an increase in teacher salaries. As a proponent of education, she believes America can be more competitive if the cost of college is more affordable. She supports free college, not only as a means to eliminate the burden of student debt, but also to keep America competitive in science, engineering, technology and math in particular.
As a believer in science, Warren accepts that manmade climate change is an urgent concern that America cannot afford to ignore. She has pledged to fight for the Green New Deal, a package of environmentally focused legislation that would seek to make America more energy efficient, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs powered by a green economy. Sen. Warren is right – we cannot afford to ignore the climate crisis and becoming more environmentally focused will create American jobs -- all the better.
Social Justice/Criminal Justice for People of Color
Importantly, Warren acknowledges that people of color in America continue to face severe hardship as a result of continued discrimination in lending, healthcare, job creation and social justice, for example.
She advocates for legislative policies that prohibit lending discrimination. She supports Medicare for all, so no American should have to die because they can’t pay for medical treatment, and she backs criminal justice reform. Warren believes America should abolish for-profit prisons, which create a school-to-prison pipeline for African American men in particular, crippling any potential for black wealth accumulation and devastating families.
Sen. Warren also believes America should study reparations for American descendants of slavery. Even as a black woman in America, I’m not sold on reparations because I believe a one-time financial payout will lead many white people in America to believe that blacks should never take issue with anything else – social justice issues, education discrimination or wealth inequality – if these payments are made. And that is a deal-breaker for me.
However, the fact that Warren believes the issue of reparations is worth studying tells me that she understands the impact that historical and present-day racism continues to have on black families. I respect her for that.
Finally, Sen. Warren supports election security (paper ballots), and abolishing the Electoral College, an inherently unfair means of electing the president that is rooted in racial discrimination. America’s deeply divisive society likely means that an increasing number of our elections will be too close, resulting in elections that don’t have a clear winner. Eliminating the Electoral College in favor of popular vote would avoid this issue and lead to fairer elections.
Bottom Line: Warren Gets It
The bottom line for me is that I think Sen. Warren “gets it.” She understands the issues that should be a priority in America and has demonstrated through her policy support and voting record that she is willing to take the lead to fight for a fairer America that works for all Americans.
And that is why she has my support. I think Sen. Warren would be leading in the polls today were it not for one issue: she’s a woman. In America’s patriarchal society, women are still deemed less “presidential” than men.
If Sen. Warren does not win the nomination, I will support the Democratic nominee. We need to restore decency, respect and Democracy in America and we have an opportunity to do that again in November.