CALIFORNIA'S OWN ELIZABETH WARREN
- Stronger Communities
- Improved Quality of Life
- Hope for Tomorrow
I'm a wife, mother, former news reporter, and community leader. Years in the trenches as a defender of environmental, economic, and social justice have convinced me that the only way to ensure lasting positive change is for regular people to get involved in the political process.
I decided to run for Assembly because I've lived long enough to realize that it's our job to give our kids a future. Nobody is going to do it for us. Up to now, humans haven't been the best stewards of this planet--but we can change that--and a lot more. These uncertain times offer a unique opportunity for California to lead by example.
No candidate has all the answers (if they say they do, they’re lying.) What I can say is that I will listen, do my homework, and be your voice in Sacramento. Working together, we CAN improve our quality of life, strengthen our communities, and give our kids hope for tomorrow.
THE BIRTH OF AN ACTIVIST
I began my professional life as a newspaper reporter, moved into public relations, and eventually went to work for myself. In 2006 I had a professional “AHA!” moment when a client asked me to create a misleading PR campaign. So, I switched gears and returned to freelance writing.
My husband and I had recently refinanced our home to complete a long overdue remodel. The plan was to get the house shipshape, live in it for 15 more years, then downsize, with a nice nest egg in the bank to help cushion our retirement. The “free market” had other ideas.
18 months later the American economy began its collapse. Most of our neighborhood quickly fell into foreclosure, putting us "upside down" on our mortgage. My husband’s industry, which relied on people having lots of disposable income, had been an early casualty of the financial crisis. He was laid off about the same time. We survived for more than a year but when our savings ran out we were forced to file bankruptcy and lost our home in an illegal foreclosure. The modest amount we received from two separate national mortgage settlement suits, totaled less than one mortgage payment.
Destitute but determined, I put my reporter’s hat back on and began researching economic policy to understand what forces had put us--and so many of our neighbors--out of work and out of our homes. What I learned made me furious, and this one-time soccer mom became a political activist. I received organizing training from MoveOn.org and was soon supporting MoveOn organizing councils made up of regular people just like me, across the country.
TAKING ON A NASTY GLOBAL TRADE DEAL.
In 2012 a news blurb in the San Diego Union Tribune caught my eye. Negotiations for a global trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership were being held in San Diego. A GLOBAL TRADE DEAL being negotiated in San Diego? Why wasn't anybody talking about it?
Some digging revealed that the public, the media, and even my Congressman, Darrell Issa, were barred from hearing details, which the White House had classified “secret.” But the biggest corporations were all INSIDE the talks, acting as “trade advisers.” More digging led to leaked documents shared by Public Citizen online that described, to my horror, provisions included in the proposed 12-nation deal.
Wall Street recklessness had claimed our home. Now a corporate-driven "trade deal" threatened to allow multinational corporations to SUE the U.S. in a private court—run entirely by corporate attorneys—if any law (state or federal) interfered with their profits. It was just too much. This time, I vowed, the little people would fight back!
I reached out to fellow MoveOn organizers and other activists I knew, and shared my idea: to make the TPP an election year issue by 2016. Some said I was crazy—the TPP was too complex. People’s eyes would glaze over at its sheer "wonkiness."
Yet what I realized (and eventually convinced others) was that everything we cared about, every protection, every progressive advance, could be held hostage by this deal. If the TPP went through, years of hard work by many good people would be WASTED, because the TPP as written would supersede every signing country’s own laws. Now I had to convince grassroots activists and national public policy makers that I was right, and get them to work together.
HOW A GRASSROOTS TEAM TOOK ON MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS—AND WON.
I reached out to issue activists and fellow MoveOn organizers across the country, and together we formed a “team” to stop TPP. The “TPP Team” mobilized people in their own communities, and then contacted national organizations that worked with trade law, including Public Citizen, Popular Resistance, Sierra Club, Progressive Democrats of America, labor unions, climate action groups, internet freedom advocates, food safety groups, and many more. We asked public policy leaders and elected officials to join us, and the hundreds of community leaders and activists from coast to coast that we recruited, on interactive weekly webinars. The webinars supported an ongoing dialogue that kept volunteer leaders engaged, and helped propel a movement.
THE TPP, AND THE ELECTION.
The Stop TPP movement began with a simple plan: build awareness, community by community and state by state, so that by the next presidential election, the TPP would be on the nation's radar. In 2016, our TPP team was thrilled to see that Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ALL publicly opposed the deal. Bernie invited me to speak about TPP at three of his California rallies, and to sit on a standing committee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
By the end of 2016, under pressure from Americans from coast to coast, Congress opted NOT to bring TPP to a vote. It was a banner day for people power!