Elizabeth Warren touts climate plan to 'clean up America,' create jobs

Detroit — Democratic Elizabeth Warren brought her presidential campaign to Michigan for the first time on Tuesday, vowing to root out corporate corruption and commit $1.5 trillion to "clean up America.”

Warren highlighted Michigan’s manufacturing roots during separate speeches in Detroit and Lansing as she unveiled a three-part plan to create jobs and fight climate change, which she called “a threat to the very existence of every living thing on this planet.”

“We’re going to need all of the research, all of the innovation and all of the manufacturing of green products to help us turn around climate change, and that’s why I’m here in Michigan,” she told an estimated crowd of 1,700 at Lansing Community College.

Warren proposed increasing federal funding for clean-tech research “ten-fold” and only allowing companies to use that research for production at domestic factories. The government should spend $1.5 trillion on those products to go “entirely carbon neutral” and then market the technology to export around the globe, she added.

The 69-year-old U.S. Senator from Massachusetts told an audience at Focus:Hope in Detroit that she would pay for the climate change plan, in part, by cutting government subsidies for the oil industry and ending tax breaks for profitable companies like Amazon. 

Warren showcased what her campaign called an “economic patriotism” plan on the same day former Vice President Joe Biden announced his $1.7 trillion climate change proposal and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee championed his environmental justice policies in southwest Detroit as part of his "climate mission tour."

While claiming her plan could spur the creation of 1.2 million jobs, Warren also admonished corporate greed to permanently root out its influence in Washington if she is elected president.

"Those giant corporations, they're not loyal to America. They're not loyal to American workers," Warren said. "They are loyal to one thing: Their own profits. Their profits and their shareholders. Well, I'll tell you this: Those giant corporations, they may not care about American workers, but I do, and I'm willing to fight for you."

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren addresses the audience during the Detroit Community Conversation with Elizabeth Warren at Focus: HOPE in Detroit Tuesday.

In a dig at her nemesis, Republican President Donald Trump, Warren said to a rousing applause, "You run for office, put their tax returns online."

Warren last month became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for the House to begin Trump impeachment hearings after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

GOP officials marked Warren’s two-stop Michigan visit by criticizing her for what they described as “radical” policies that would halt economic growth.

“Elizabeth Warren’s support of absurd plans like giving the government control of healthcare, jobs and education shows just how out of touch she really is with everyday Michiganders,” Michael Joyce of the Republican National Committee said in a statement. “She might have a plan, but that plan would kiss our roaring economy goodbye and pave the way for crippling taxes on all Michiganders.”

In a crowded presidential primary field of 23 Democrats, Warren positioned herself as the most policy-focused candidate, stirring the Lansing crowd into a nerdy frenzy with a wonkish mantra of “I got a plan for that."

She called for an end to corporate lobbying, to end the “revolving door” between Washington and Wall Street and implement conflict-of-interest ethics rules for U.S. Supreme Court justices.

“I have the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate,” Warren said. “The bad news is we need the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate.”

From left, Silvia Perez of Rochester Hills, Maureen Dunwoodie of Pontiac and Anne Sharkey of Clarkson wait to enter Focus: HOPE in Detroit for the Detroit Community Conversation with Elizabeth Warren on June 4, 2019.

Warren entered the hour-long event in Detroit to a standing ovation from the hundreds in attendance. They roared when she attacked corporate greed or lauded Democratic themes such as raising the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The beginning of her speech was intended to show voters she was just like them — a woman who got married young, went to law school pregnant, held a minimum wage job and gave up a law career to be a teacher and trade "big ones for little ones."

In a question-and-answer with attendees in Detroit, Warren was asked about the rash of shootings around the country. American needs "new and stronger gun safety laws," she said. "The NRA is not going to call the shots in Washington."

Asked if she has a plan to remove Trump from office, Warren stressed the importance of the 2020 election and did not reference impeachment. Her plan to beat Trump begins with the understanding that you “never back down from a bully,” she told a woman in Lansing.

After her Detroit event, Warren addressed a question from The Detroit News about how important Michigan is to her presidential chances.

"I'm running to be president of all of America, and that's why I'm reaching out to all of America," she said. "Michigan is where working people have been on the front lines for decades. And that's why I wanted to come here to talk about a plan to put 1.2 million good jobs back into this economy. No place is better for that than Michigan."

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has welcomed all 2020 contenders to the state, did not attend either of Warren’s events but thanked her in a Tuesday evening tweet for “spending the day in Michigan to talk to Michiganders about your plans and issues we care about.”

Jennifer Garland, 50, of Farmington Hills, said she first heard Warren speak at a Detroit event in 2017 and has been following her since. She decided to attend the town hall event to hear more specifics from the candidate she is supporting in a crowded presidential primary field of 24 candidates.

“She thinks about policy. She has an answer to problems,” said Garland, who was a legal secretary until April when she was laid off. “She’s very intelligent. She works very well with others and collaborates and respects other thoughts.”

The controversy over Warren's Native-American heritage is “ridiculous,” she said, adding that she appreciated how Warren went and “did more research” on it. “I’m not really concerned about it but it seemed like a distraction to me,” Garland said.

Emilie MacAulay, center, of Ferndale sits with her daughter, Corinne, 4, and her mother, Susan Oswald, right, before the start of the Detroit Community Conversation with Elizabeth Warren at Focus: HOPE in Detroit on June 4, 2019.

Emilie MacAulay, 39, of Ferndale, who was holding her 4-year old daughter, Corinne, before the town hall, is sold on Warren.

“I think Elizabeth Warren is fantastic,” said MacAulay, an art director. “I think she has a way of getting to the point and hitting all of the points that are important to me as a working Mom around woman’s issues,” such as choice on abortion, child care and health care with “a real, thoughtful, practical approach to all of the problems that we’re facing.”

MacAulay said she believes Warren has a legitimate shot to beat President Donald Trump if she captures the Democratic nomination. “I think we’re beyond the question of whether a woman can be president or not,” she said.


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