By Mike McCombs
SEABROOK – More than 450 people – supporters and those whose curiosity got the best of them – packed Whale Branch Middle School on Monday night to hear U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speak as part of her 2020 campaign for U.S. President.
The 69-year-old Warren (D-Mass.) was the third Democratic presidential hopeful to visit Beaufort County over roughly a week’s time, joining former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke.
Warren spoke for roughly an hour before taking questions from randomly chosen members of the audience.
Among the positions Warren touched on were raising the minimum wage, “common sense” gun legislation, protecting Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, health care as a human right, a wealth tax, discriminatory practices in the housing industry, her support for unions and attacking corruption in government head-on.
“I thought she was really good. I like a lot of her ideas,” Kate Hines, of Beaufort, said. “I’m not sure how easy they’re going to be to accomplish. But I liked her enthusiasm. I liked the fact that she has plans and has spelled them all out.”
After the question-and-answer portion of the evening – during which she said she was “all-in” on legalizing marijuana – Warren enthusiastically took the time for photos with those who were willing to wait.
Warren opened the event talking about her youth in Oklahoma, touching on her mother taking a minimum-wage job after her father’s heart attack to save the family home from foreclosure, something she pointed out could not be done today.
“She has extreme enthusiasm for the middle class. Not middle America. The middle class,” Larry Hines, husband to Kate, said. “The way she related it to her own life. I remember the same thing in my life. If you worked, everyone was OK. Now, most of us are not.”
Warren was emotional when talking about doing more to reduce gun violence. She pointed out that seven children are killed everyday by guns in America and that if gun violence was an illness, we would have addressed it by now.
“The reason (we haven’t acted) is that the NRA holds our Congress hostage,” Warren said.
Larry Albany of Dale agrees with Warren on guns.
“Get the guns off the street,” Albany said. “We have young people being killed every day. We had two just yesterday in Beaufort. And I’m tired of it.”
Albany believes Warren has a real shot. But it’s not for any particular policy stance.
“She has a great chance. I like her because she’s not afraid of Trump,” Albany said. “Anybody that’s not afraid of Trump can have my vote. So she’s got a great chance.”