Senator Elizabeth Warren on Saturday stoked supporters’ energy ahead of a critical midterm election next month, tying Democrats’ success in winning majorities in the House and Senate with being able to make progress on issues like climate change, housing, drug prices, and gun violence.
Warren sounded a strong populist message to underscore the stakes for Democrats, who hope to tap into enough anti-President Trump sentiment in the Nov. 6 vote to win back control of Congress.
“We are going to say to the powerful in Washington that we don’t want a government that just works for the wealthy and the well-connected,” Warren told a crowd gathered at a town hall in Roxbury. “We want a government that works for the rest of us.”
Democrats in charge would be able to make a difference on issues like controlling drug costs, she said.
Before Warren spoke, fellow Democrats took the stage, including Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is running unopposed in the Seventh Congressional District. Pressley said her faith in government has been “shaken and compromised,” and also sounded a call to action.
She said there is a taint on the Senate that is “demoralizing, demeaning, and dismissive” of sexual assault survivors, including Pressley.
“But we are not done. Because the American people are entitled to the truth, survivors are entitled to justice, and Brett Kavanaugh was not entitled to a lifetime appointment,” Pressley said, later adding, “Survivors vote.”
In Warren’s remarks, she pointed to the need for national legislative efforts to curb gun violence, including in Boston — by the time she spoke on Saturday, there had been seven fatal shootings over the previous week in the city. She said more needs to be done to save lives.
“We’re losing them to gun violence at a time in America when we can’t make the simplest, smallest changes in Washington. And why? Because right now in America, the NRA holds Congress hostage,” Warren said.
Warren said the nation must do more to confront the “ultimate threat” of climate change, calling it a threat “to our very existence.”
“This is about economics, absolutely, it’s about politics, but ultimately, it’s a moral question,” Warren said of climate change. “We have a moral responsibility to leave our children a world where they can drink the water and breathe the air.”
Jake Resetarits, 29, of Jamaica Plain, described himself as a “big fan” of Warren, particularly because of her focus on housing. Warren said Saturday that she has filed a bill meant to spur the creation of about 3 million new housing units across the country.
“I do think housing is one of those issues in our country that is stealthily rising until it reaches a breaking point,” Resetarits said. “[I’m] so excited to see her address that.”
Matthew Lima, 23, of Allston, said he’s a Warren supporter who is concerned about the environmental impact of climate change. He said he favored a Senate bill from Warren that would require publicly traded companies to report on the impact climate change would have on their business operations.
“In our system, you have to work within the corporate framework of how things operate,” Lima said.
He said he hopes Warren’s bill will “translate into less of a conservative message coming out of corporate America on this issue.”
During her remarks, Warren also pointed to local issues, including throwing her support behind striking Marriott hotel workers, as well as with National Grid workers locked out of their jobs.
She also backed a “yes” vote on state ballot Question 3, which will ask voters in November whether they would preserve a 2016 law preventing discrimination based on gender identity.
“ ‘Yes’ on 3, because ‘yes’ on 3 means ‘no’ on hate,” Warren said.
The crowd of a few hundred people packed into the auditorium at Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall was high energy, frequently breaking out into chants before speakers began, and several people were using their phones to broadcast Warren’s remarks live on social media.
“We can work together . . . we got to have the vision, and we got to have the willingness to fight. But if we do that, we can make things better,” Warren said.
Warren’s challenger, state Representative Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican and Trump supporter, spent part of Saturday campaigning in Sturbridge, according to a video posted to his campaign’s Twitter page. He said in the video he would be at Fenway Park Saturday night meeting voters at the Red Sox playoff game.
“I’m looking forward to putting Massachusetts first as your next US senator,” Diehl said in the video.
He has called on Warren to drop out of the Senate race after she said she’d take a “hard look” at running for president after Nov. 6.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.