LAWRENCE, Mass.—Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) officially declared her presidential candidacy Saturday morning at the historic Everett Mill.
“This is the fight of our lives,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way. And that is why I stand here today: to declare that I am a candidate for President of the United States of America.”
After bounding onstage to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” Warren delivered an impassioned speech about corruption in Washington, D.C., and offered a vision for structural change that she says would be necessary even if President Trump hadn’t made it to the White House. The timing of her official announcement comes after Warren apologized this week for previously identifying herself as Native American, both in an interview with The Washington Post and in a private conversation with the chief of the Cherokee Nation.
“It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration,” she said from a podium nestled in the shadow of the mill’s brick walls. “We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges—a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change.”
Her voice grew grave and deeper at times when she discussed the struggles of “hard-working people,” and during at least one moment, Warren held her gloveless hands to her chest to briefly take in the adoration of the crowd.
Around 3,500 people came out to support Warren on a 30-degree morning, dotting the landscape behind the 69-year-old former professor with American flags and signs that read “Persist” and “Win with Warren.” Steam occasionally poured from an adjacent vent into the crisp, blustery air. A massive American flag lay draped over rusted metal, rustling in the wind.
Warren was introduced by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) who formally endorsed her at the event. Her fellow Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey also spoke as well as Lawrence Mayor Danny Rivera and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA).
The site, as Warren details in her speech, played host to a massive 1912 strike that was launched by women at the textile mill, a piece of history she used to demonstrate the power of collective action.
“The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Warren said, noting that the striking workers spoke over two dozen different languages, but shared common goals. “It’s a story about power—our power—when we fight together.”
Her candidacy has been framed around notions of power and the means by which the political system ensures that the wealthy hold on to their influence and assets—a system Warren says would persist in the absence of President Trump. Hers was the first announcement speech of the cycle to include a line about “class warfare.”
Since announcing an exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve, Warren has traveled to three of the early voting states and Puerto Rico, staffed up for organizing in those states, and stirred a policy debate around her proposed “ultra-millionaire tax,” which has drawn the ire of two prospective billionaire candidates.
“No matter what they do, they grow richer and more powerful,” Warren said Saturday. “Bailouts for the bankers that cheat. Tax cuts for the companies that scam. Subsidies for the corporations that pollute.”
“When I talk about this, some rich guys scream ‘class warfare!’ Well, let me tell you something, these same rich guys have been waging class warfare against hard-working people for decades,” she continued.
Immediately after her event, Warren will travel to New Hampshire followed by Iowa for more campaign stops.