Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gave a stump speech focused on economic issues facing students and the American middle class followed by a question and answer session Friday at Iowa State.
Taylor Blair, the outgoing president of College Democrats and a junior in industrial design, introduced the senator and said he would support her candidacy.
The senator opened her address by discussing the student loan crisis in the United States, asking those in attendance to raise their hands if they or someone they knew carried student loan debt. Nearly all hands were raised.
In April, Warren announced a plan to cancel student loan debts for more than 95 percent of Americans carrying such debt. During her speech, Warren asked attendees to go to her website where they can see how much of their student loan debt would be cancelled under her proposal.
Warren spoke about her family history, saying after her father had a heart attack her mother got a minimum wage job at Sears and her salary was enough to pay their family mortgage and keep them solvent.
“Today, a minimum wage full time job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty,” Warren said. “That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.”
Throughout her career in law and in authoring books, Warren has discussed the American middle class. Her most recent book is titled This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.
“My work is always around one central question: What’s happening to working families in America,” Warren said. “Why is America’s middle class being hollowed out?”
Warren said today people are finding it harder than a generation ago to find the path to staying in the middle class, and the path is even steeper for people of color.
Brandon Turner, a junior in psychology, asked Warren how he can know as a person of color she supports him.
“You got to be a candidate whose willing to walk the walk,” Warren said. “For me that started with the people I brought on our team, I have a very diverse team which actually wasn’t hard because it was also true in my Senate office before that.”
Over the course of her speech and question and answer session, Warren said the United States needs big structural change. Warren proposed a wealth tax of 2 percent on all wealth beyond an individual’s first $50 million.
Jimmie Bragdon, College Democrats events chair and senior in industrial engineering said Warren is one of his top choice candidates for president, saying he thinks she is very genuine and passionate.
On her wealth tax proposal, Bragdon said Warren is the “only one who seems to be proposing in and I love that.”