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Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 candidate

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By Roey Hadar

Gwen Ifill Fellow

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020 after years of advocating for progressive policy, having launched her campaign on February 9.

Warren, a 69-year-old law professor before she became the first female U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has built her campaign around a series of policy platforms that she believes will help restore “level playing fields” in markets and hold large corporations accountable.

Here are 7 things you need to know about Warren as she moves forward with her presidential campaign.

  • Warren spent over a decade as a professor at Harvard Law School. She specialized in knowledge of bankruptcy and commercial law and advocated against legislation restricting individuals’ access to filing for bankruptcy.
  • Warren claimed to have Native American ancestry. Critics accused her of using the claim to get preferential consideration when she applied for jobs.  In 2018 an investigation by the Boston Globe disproved that accusation.  Warren apologized in 2019 after she took a DNA test that affirmed that she was not a citizen of any tribe.
  • She oversaw the 2008 TARP government bailout process. Warren chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel that oversaw and reviewed the implementation of the 2008 bailout of the American banking and financial systems. The role made Warren a hero among liberal advocates for her willingness to hold the program to account and avert negative impacts on consumers.
  • Warren helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren advocated for the agency’s creation as a way of protecting consumers from predatory practices by financial companies and served as a special advisor on the agency’s development and liberal groups advocated for President Barack Obama to appoint her as the agency’s first official director. Because of concerns that Warren could not be confirmed, Obama instead nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
  • Despite her liberal advocacy, she spent several years as a Republican. Voter records show Warren registered as a Republican in the early and mid-1990’s. In a 2014 interview, Warren said she left the Republican Party in 1996 because she felt that the GOP “stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle class American families.”
  • The feminist catchphrase “nevertheless, she persisted” is about her. In February 2017, Warren opposed the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general by citing Coretta Scott King’s prior objections about Sessions’ views on civil rights. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to Warren reading the letter but Warren continued to read it. McConnell explained the violation by saying, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
  • Warren is proposing a ‘wealth tax’ on multimillionaires.  Warren believes an annual 2-percent tax on for households worth over $50 million and a 3-percent tax for households worth at least $1 billion could raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years. She is also proposing to break up the wealth of large tech companies by breaking up Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple to promote market competition.