Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our One Hundredth: She's In...

Prof. Elizabeth Warren (Facebook)
Western Mass Politics & Insight has learned from Talking Points Memo, the Huffington Post and David Bernstein at the Boston Phoenix that consumer advocate, Harvard Professor and Presidential Adviser Elizabeth Warren will announce  her campaign  for US Senate tomorrow in Boston.  Warren will face a slate of Democratic challengers for the nomination and the right to challenge sitting US Senator Scott Brown in 2012.

WMassP&I can also independently confirm via Warren's spokesman, that she is indeed running and will visit Springfield, in addition to Worcester, Framingham, and New Bedford after greeting commuter tomorrow morning in Boston.

Warren's statement of her intentions is as follows:

“The pressures on middle class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington,” said Warren, who in recent weeks has been in kitchens and living rooms listening to people all across the state. “I want to change that.  I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.”

Warren gained national attention in the early days of the fiscal crisis when she was named to the oversight board for TARP, the financial bailout passed by Congress in 2008.  Warren, who had been a  consumer advocate and champion of the middle class for years, later advocated for the establishment of a consumer advocacy institution to protect customers of financial services.  The oversight authority sought had existed within the Treasury and Federal Reserve , yet the lack of interest or coordination across these agencies left consumers out on a limb.  During the years when easy credit built up the economic bubble, consumers were ultimately only left with a heavy debt load.  Warren was successful in her effort to convince Pres. Barack Obama on the need for the agency and with his support, the agency became part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed in 2010.

Over the past year Warren has served as an adviser to the president and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner working to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The agency officially opened in late July, but without Warren at its helm.  Forty-four Republicans promised to filibuster the confirmation of anybody nominated to head the agency unless the president agreed to weaken it (a rare and possibly unprecedented move).  Consequently, Obama nominated Warren's 2nd in Command Robert Cordray, the former Ohio Attorney General.

Over the last several weeks, Warren has engaged in a listening tour that took her from Fall River to Pittsfield.  A posting on Blue Mass Group appeared ostensibly written by the consumer advocate touched off a flurry of speculation.  It was further fueled by Warren's decision to hire two former staffers of Governor Deval Patrick as advisers to her exploratory campaign.  Warren then formally announced an "exploratory" committee.  

Perhaps a hint that may have otherwise go unnoticed came this morning when former Cong. Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee for US Senate last year in Pennsylvania announced his support for Warren's campaign on DailyKs.

Now, the exploratory part has been dropped.  The Twitterverse is aflame with Warren Announcement News.  We will have further developments as they become available.

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