Sen. Warren Comes to Franklin

Town Meeting at FHS Draws Crowd of Over 1,100
Senator Elizabeth Warren held a town meeting in Franklin at Franklin High School on Saturday, February 10th. Over 1,100 people attended.
Issue Date: 
March, 2018
Article Body: 

On Saturday, February 10, Senator Elizabeth Warren hosted a town hall in Franklin, Mass. at the Franklin High School auditorium. Warren took questions from the audience and discussed her interests of helping working families of Massachusetts over powerful corporate interests. Over the past year, Warren hosted 18 such town halls across the Commonwealth.
“This is the first time a U.S. Senator has come to Franklin since Ted Kennedy, in the 90’s,” said Rep. Jeffrey Roy, of Franklin, who opened the event and introduced Senator Warren and expressed how excited he was to see so many people come. The crowd filled the Franklin High School auditorium, and an overflow crowd in a separate lecture hall held another couple hundred, he said. Roy expressed how important he felt these types of meetings to be and how he supported, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, supported legislation aiming at bringing Civics back into schools.
“I’m so happy to be in Franklin. This is democracy at work,” said Senator Warren, in an interview following the town meeting. “Look at the people who filled up the high school auditorium and then we had a spillover crowd in another auditorium, because people are here to talk about how to build a better, stronger America, an America that can influence all of us.”
Molly Devin, a student from Dean College, was one who attended the event.
“I always supported Elizabeth Warren,” said Devin, who said it was the first time she’d come to see a politician speak, “I think that not only is she extremely smart, but she’s also very passionate. I just turned 18 and wanted to get more involved. This is the best way to do that. I’m a novice when it comes to politics.” A topic Devin says is near and dear is the equal rights amendment and the wage gap, which, shsays, “makes no sense.”
Franklin resident Jesse Buinicki came for an in-depth understanding of where the senator stood on issues.
“I am really sick of just hearing sound bites by the news industry,” said Buinicki. “I wanted to actually hear my U.S. Senator talk about the issues of the day.”
Her friend Beth, also from Franklin, added that she was interested in what Warren was going to do for the working poor, and her views on banking.
Anne Shanahan, of Franklin, added, “I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but now I feel as a human being, you have to be a Democrat. The white male oppression we have in power now. It’s sad. Senator Warren is a strong woman, not afraid to voice our voices … she listens and she articulates.”
Another Franklin resident, Tom Pfeifle, who describes himself as a “practical libertarian,” said he had never been to one of Warren’s town meetings. His daughter was now an intern for the senator, and he simply “wanted to see what it’s all about and listen to her.”
Fellow Franklin neighbor Scott Pond came to hear what Sen. Warren had to say, “because I really like Elizabeth Warren. She believes in the same things I believe in. I’m fairly disgruntled in regard to all those people trying to silence her.” Pond says he believes that this type of silencing and bullying “is preventing government from being effective.”
Rory O’Brien, Kaitlyn Simmons, and Samiha Rao, all Franklin High School students, had a chance to meet Sen. Warren briefly in person on a trip their student group, “Girl Up,” took to Washington D.C.
Samiha Rao, the Franklin High School junior who actually started the local Girl Up club at the high school, (, was thrilled to see Warren, who, she said, expressed support of the girls’ cause, HR 2408, “Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act,” in 2016 during the Washington visit. Simmons added that although their visit in D.C. was cut short, she was looking forward to hearing what Warren had to say.
O’Brien, part of the FHS Young Democrats group, said in particular she had a keen interest in what happens with DACA. “Even though (“Dreamers”) may look different, they still grew up (here), so I think they’re as much a part of our country as I am.” She was interested in where Sen. Warren stood on the topic.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, followed Roy in his introduction of Sen. Warren, who said, in her speech, “When the Federal Government makes decisions about taxes, about government, it’s deciding about what we value,” a lens into who we are and what we care about,” she said. She pointed a finger at “Republican tax giveaways,” in the most recent budget, saying that no Democrats were allowed in the room while Republicans hammered out the tax bill that ultimately “gave away a trillion and a half to corporations.”
Warren expressed interest in making the government work for the people. She noted a large increase in military spending, but criticized that that exactly where that money will be spend was unclear, as the military doesn’t have a system that can be audited, yet. She added she’d like to see what the country is doing about cyber security, expressed interest in government funding more childcare, offering debt forgiveness to students entering public service, more money for infrastructure, an investment in mental health and opioid action and a $2 billion earmark for the National Institutes for Health. Expressing interest for healthcare for all, she also emphasized a need to address what she called a broken promise to DACA recipients in this country.
“Democracy is rewiring itself,” said Warren, noting the women’s march a couple years ago as the single biggest march in the history of the world.
Attendees of the meeting that had their questions randomly chosen included:
• Stephanie Lambert, a USAF veteran of 20 years who faced a lack of healthcare
• Larry Grant, one of many who has dealt with the problem of addiction within his family, asked for the Senator’s support of innovative ways to increase addiction treatment facilities, such as using abandoned state buildings, to treat people with addiction.
• Allie, a Medway High School senior, who asked the best way to become involved, as someone who could not yet vote;
• Susan Smith, of Franklin, who noted the debt forgiveness suggested for those going into public service, but asked, “What about the rest of us” with mounting debt.
• Brian, an audience member, who asked about climate change;
• And Suzanne, from Franklin, who asked what she could do to engage those who might disagree, for whom views might not make sense.