Senator Elizabeth Warren holds town hall in Holyoke

Photo by Natalie Kulak ’21   Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to citizens during a town hall at the Holyoke City Hall Auditorium on Sept. 29.

Photo by Natalie Kulak ’21

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to citizens during a town hall at the Holyoke City Hall Auditorium on Sept. 29.

BY ANNA HASSON ’21

“After Nov. 6, I will take a hard look at running for president.” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren made this statement during a town hall in Holyoke last Saturday, after an attendee asked if she was planning to run in 2020. Up until this point, Warren had deflected questions about a potential presidential run by emphasizing her focus on the Nov. 6 midterm elections, the importance of which she continues to emphasize.

Warren is currently running for reelection as a democratic U.S. senator in Massachusetts, a seat she has held since 2013. This term, she is running against Republican Geoff Diehl and Independent Shiva Ayyadurai.

The Holyoke town hall was bursting with energy from both supporters and protestors on Oct. 29. Amelia Malpas ’22 attended the event with a group of other Mount Holyoke students. “Elizabeth Warren is one of my favorite politicians right now: she’s engaged, she’s honest, she’s progressive and there’s something candid about her that others don’t have,” Malpas said. “I was thrilled to get to see her in Holyoke in my first month in Massachusetts!”

But not everyone was there to support Warren, as attendees were met with protest from town hall supporters of Ayyadu. adurai. Ayyadurai is an Indian-born scientist who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His campaign slogan is, “Only a REAL Indian can defeat the Fake Indian,” referring to Senator Warren, who has publicly claimed to have Native American heritage. Protestors chanted that Warren was “a racist.” The protestors remained outside of the venue.

After introductory remarks from speakers Mayor Nicole LaChapelle of Easthampton and Mayor Alex B. Morse of Holyoke, Senator Warren took the stage. “It’s been a hard week,” she started, referring to the testimonies of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate last Thursday. Warren spoke about Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and sympathized with Dr. Ford, offering support and sympathy to everyone who is struggling with the hearings. She said that aspects of the hearings were not only disrespectful to women in the room, but were “enormously disrespectful to people of the United States.” Warren blasted Senate Republicans who demonstrated their support of Kavanaugh after Dr. Ford’s testimony.

Warren also criticized the Trump Administration’s appointments to crucial positions, such as Betsy Devos to Secretary of Education and Scott Pruitt to Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Warren then took questions from the audience. She was asked about a variety of topics, such as bipartisanship, environmental protection, the cost of higher education and healthcare. She took the time to speak about her experience in working with senators across the aisle, describing her work on the “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act,” which President Trump signed into law in 2017. To pass this legislation, Warren teamed up with Senator Chuck Grassley — a Republican from Iowa — to create a bill that would provide greater public affordability with over-the-counter hearing aids.

Warren also spoke to the importance of voting as a way to assure that Democrats take back the House and the Senate after the midterm election.

The last two questions from the audience were asked by Malpas. She first asked about potential statehood for Puerto Rico, to which Warren responded that she’ll support the decision of Puerto Ricans on that issue. Lastly, Malpas asked a lighthearted question about Elizabeth Warren’s dog Bailey, to which Warren responded happily with, “She’s doing fine!”

Warren’s supporters stood and applauded at the end of the event. As they exited the town hall, yard signs were collected and attendees loudly cheered for Warren.

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