By MIKE McCOMBS
When Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren visited Whale Branch Middle School in April, she vowed she would return to Beaufort County before the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
She hasn’t made it yet, but her campaign is putting down roots here, opening a SC For Warren campaign office Saturday at 129 Burton Hill Road, Suite J.
About 50 people showed up to celebrate the opening.
“Elizabeth has a plan for South Carolina,” Warren campaign state director Alycia Albergottie said in a release. “As part of the next phase of our grassroots movement, we are opening five offices across the Palmetto State from the Upstate to the Lowcountry to give supporters a chance to join the fight for big structural change that is needed to make our government work for every American.”
Phil Leventis, who represented the 35th district in the S.C. Senate from 1980 to 2012, was on hand to talk to thank supporters and tell them, and anyone else interested in listening, about Warren’s qualifications.
“Senator Warren is just eminently qualified (to be president) based on her life experience, which is broad,” Leventis said, citing Warren’s roles as a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, public school teacher and defender of the everyday American consumer.
Leventis defended Warren from opponents who have tried to characterize her as a socialist and opposed to free markets.
“Capitalism is open markets, not markets that are influenced by monopolies and the like. When Adam Smith, in 1776, the year our country was born, published “A Wealth of Nations,” he said there always has to be a leviathan in a marketplace so that nobody will get a monopoly, and if it’s beginning to happen, that leviathan will level the playing field for everyone,” Leventis said. “That’s what Senator Warren wants to do. And if people try to mischaracterize that, well, they’re dead wrong. Because, as she’s fond of saying, and I’m very much impressed by it, she has a plan for that.”
“I have a plan for that,” has become a common phrase uttered on the campaign trail by Warren. She has written and made publicly available plans for everything from immigration reform and health care to the opioid crisis and gun violence.
In one room of the office, Warren’s numerous plans are available for interested people to read. On one wall was a poster where those in attendance Saturday were asked to note which plans were the most important to them. Immigration and health care were two early leaders.
There are four full-time staff members at the office, which will maintain regular hours Tuesday through Saturday. Campaign paraphernalia – signs, stickers, posters, shirts, etc. – will be available soon.
Leventis pointed out how important is was that so many gave up time on their Saturday to show up for this event. Leadership doesn’t begin in Washington, he said. America is a grassroots nation.
“The road to the White House begins in rooms like this,” he said.
Above: Supporters and volunteers gather for a group photo Saturday after the opening of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign office in Beaufort. Photo by Leila Mohaideen.