Salt Lake City’s Democrats showed up to The Depot event center Wednesday, April 17, for an organizing event for presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to hear her speak about her campaign.
The RSVP for the event said the organizing event was an effort to “build our movement for 2020.”
The venue was filled to capacity with more than 1,000 guests and 500 additional people turned away who waited two hours in line. Warren started the event an hour late to greet those who were unable to make it inside.
According to CNN, 18 Democratic candidates have thrown their hat into the ring for the 2020 presidential election with either an official campaign or exploratory committee.
Salt Lake City is predominantly a red state, which made Warren’s visit a surprise to many who attended the event. So far, only two other Democratic candidates have visited Utah in their campaign efforts. Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, came to Utah in February, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney came the month before in January.
During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton skipped Utah but sent her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, to campaign in her place March 2016. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also visited Utah during his presidential election campaigning efforts. Sanders had more than 14,000 guests attend his outdoor rally also in March 2016, according to Fox13.
Warren started Wednesday’s event by telling stories about her family’s financial hardship as she was growing up. She compared this story to the stories of today and the families in middle class America who are facing the same growing challenges. Warren said Washington is benefiting the wealthy at the expense of many others.
“We need big, systemic change in this country and I got a plan,” Warren said.
Warren highlighted experiences she had working as a special education teacher and college professor.
“When I meet little girls and little boys, and sometimes big girls and big boys, I say ‘my name is Elizabeth. I’m running for president of the United States, because that’s what girls do,'” Warren said. “So that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Warren outlined a three-part plan that includes confronting corruption “head on” and revising basic rules in the U.S. economy. She said she wants to end lobbying entirely and provide Medicare for everyone.
She cracked jokes throughout the night and stayed to take pictures with anyone who wanted them. Many chose to again wait in line to snap a photo with Warren.
Whitney Childers, who attended the event, said she has always loved Warren and thinks her ideas are concrete.
“I think she’s a fighter, I think she’s really smart, and I think she’s exactly what we need right now,” Childers said.
Childers and her friend discussed why some Democrats choose to come to Utah and why others skip over it.
“You have to think of elections as globally,” Childers said. “Nobody lives just within their family units in the same state, in the same community anymore. We’re spread out all over.”
Childers said Utah may not have influence as a Democratic state in the near future, but said a person can still have influence. She said people can’t discount living in Utah and not getting engaged and being supportive.
“You see the power of social media, the power of picking up the phone,” Childers said.
Rachel Berry heard about the organizing event and decided to attend out of curiosity about what Warren had to say. Much of what Warren said during the event resonated with Berry.
“I loved that she mentioned a higher pay for preschool teachers,” Berry said. “I used to teach preschool and had to stop because the pay was not livable.”
Berry said she thinks it was smart for Warren to make a stop in Utah because many Democratic candidates don’t bother.
“I think she is more understanding of different classes because she’s experienced them all,” Berry said.
So far, only three of the declared 18 Democratic candidates have visited Utah. Currently, there are no slated events for the remaining 15 to visit Utah.
The next organizing event for Warren will take place in New Hampshire on April 20.