Five years ago today, I stood outside the Broadway T station in South Boston at the crack of dawn. I stuck out my hand to as many people as I could, and for the very first time I said: “Hi, I’m Elizabeth Warren, and I’m running for the United States Senate.”
Most people had no idea who I was and probably just wanted me to get out of the way so they could get on to work, but most of them smiled anyway—and a few wished me luck. It was a big day for me.
I never thought I’d get involved in politics. Never. I’d spent decades as a law professor studying why working families were going broke. Running for the Senate was not on my bucket list, my shopping list, or any other list.
But there was so much at stake. Millions of families were going off an economic cliff, and it was getting worse. Washington worked great for anyone who could hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers, but not so much for anyone else. Could I really sit on the sidelines?
So five years ago today, I jumped in the fight. And here’s the most important thing: I didn’t jump in alone. I did it with people like you fighting right there by my side.
Washington can be a frustrating place. There are a lot of days that I think I may grind my teeth down to stubs. But today, I see more than ever how much government matters.
Congress decides who pays taxes and who gets to run through giant loopholes. Congress decides how much filth companies can pump into the air we breathe or the water we drink. Congress decides if our tax money will go to oil subsidies or rebuilding roads. And at every step in the decision process big corporations and their lobbyists are pushing the interests of the rich and powerful ahead of everyone else.
If we don’t fight, we can’t win – and it’s more important than ever to jump in those fights and level the playing field.
I’ve also learned that there’s a lot of law already out there – if someone would just pick it up and use it. When we push the Department of Education not to renew a lousy student loan company’s contract, we can help millions of kids struggling with their loans. When we question the head of a government agency in a hearing, we remind every regulator that they are there to serve the public, not the industry they are supposed to regulate. And when we fight for expanding Social Security or debt-free college or equal pay for equal work, we change the conversation here in Washington – and we move the needle just a little more in our direction.
Five years later, I still believe that nobody in this country got rich on his own – nobody.
I still believe in what we can do together. I still believe in how many ways we can help build better chances for our kids and grandkids. And I still believe that this is our moment in history, the moment when we begin to build an even more extraordinary country where everyone gets a fighting chance.
Nowadays at a T station more people ask to take selfies – and now people tell me to “Keep fighting!”
Not to worry – I’ll keep fighting. You bet I will.
It is the greatest honor in the world to serve as the senior senator from Massachusetts and to fight for working families all across this country. Thanks for being a part of this fight.