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Warren: Take the outside money out of race

Date: 1/17/2012

Jan. 18, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE — In a campaign stop in Western Massachusetts, Democratic senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren said that she is unaware of any political action groups (PACS) who are working on her behalf by sponsoring television ads attacking incumbent Sen. Scott Brown.

Warren has been the subject of commercials criticizing her views on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and questioning if a Harvard Law School professor is in touch with voters.

“All I can say is that Karl Rove has landed here in Massachusetts and is spending millions of dollars — Wall Street money — to make sure that I don’t get elected to the United States Senate. That’s evidently what’s happened to politics. All I know how to do is to go out and talk about what is important — to talk about jobs, to talk about our future, to talk about making the investments in the future,” Warren said. “I’m not a professional politician. That’s what I’m in this for. All I know is to go out and talk to people.”

Warren made the remark after attending a luncheon for business leaders at the Westover Job Corps. Job Corps officials made it clear that Warren’s appearance did not constitute any sort of endorsement.

Warren came to prominence as one of the chief architects of the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to monitor mortgage and lending practices.

Introduced by Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette, Warren spoke about her background as a member of a middle-class family who struggled when her father died. She added she was married at 19, something she doesn’t recommend at that age, and recounted the importance of advancing her education through college and law school.

She recalled with a laugh that in order to attend one law class she had to make sure her daughter was potty-trained, otherwise the daycare wouldn’t take her. She extolled the virtues of M&M candies as positive reinforcement.

Warren’s brief speech included her promise to work on behalf of middle-class families.

If elected Warren would advocate for a review of the Supreme Court decision, known as Citizens United, that has allowed greater corporate contributions to political campaigns and the creation of “Super PACS.”

“Remember we’ve got a problem because it came out of the United States Supreme Court, which limits what Congress can do. But, boy, that is not an excuse for Congress not to do everything possible. The first thing we can do is to have really meaningful disclosure. Who’s behind those ads? Who’s paying for them? When I say meaningful, I mean within 24 hours. I mean up on the Internet where you can see it. We’re going to have to look in the public funding of campaigns to try to wean people off these big dollar donors and eventually we may to have to talk about whether or not there has to be a Constitutional amendment — not a place I would want to go,” Warren said. “But, we’ve got to have some changes. People need to own elections, not the biggest corporations in this country.”

Warren said she believe the key issue in Western Massachusetts is jobs.

“When I say ‘jobs,’ it’s really short-term and long- term. Short -term, I don’t have to say it to anybody here, we’re in a recession. We have to have more jobs and that means put people back to work now. That’s why when Scott Brown voted against three different jobs bills last November it really hurt and it hurt this area. But it’s also about jobs long-term, meaning our future long-term. We have to invest in our future. That means we have to invest in education, that means we invest in transportation and all of that kind of boring infrastructure stuff.”

Warren continued, “But you know, China right now is investing 9 percent of its gross domestic product in infrastructure going forward; Europe 5 percent; the United States, 2.4 percent and trying to figure out how to cut it. That’s now how you build a future and that’s sure not how you build a future in a place like Western Massachusetts.”

Building the future is one reason she is in the race, she added.

After her Chicopee appearance, she left for Holyoke and a meeting with Mayor Alex Morse.

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