By Tabitha Mueller | Images by Trevor Bexon.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hosted a town-hall meeting and press conference Tuesday evening during her fourth trip to northern Nevada for the 2020 presidential campaign. Throughout the evening, she answered questions from both attendees and the media, discussing her plans for a variety of issues prioritized by local voters: healthcare, tribal lands, education, and environmental concerns.
Warren also has a plan for the housing crisis.
This Is Reno asked the presidential hopeful about her thoughts on the Reno City Council’s recent “1,000 homes in 120 days” update and what advice, comment, or input she might have for cities looking to address housing concerns.
“I’m running at the federal level because the housing crisis is felt all across this country. It is acute here in Reno. I’ve been here on multiple visits, and I’ve seen firsthand how families are doubling up in motel rooms because they simply can’t afford housing.
“I put together a housing plan that would build 3.2 million new housing units all across America, with money going to communities like Reno that need a bigger housing supply,” she said.
Warren said her plan aims to help people from the “poor poor” and “working poor” to the middle class. Her housing plan includes affordable housing, senior housing, housing for people with disabilities wanting to live independently, and formerly incarcerated individuals.
“We can’t solve these problems without putting real money into them. And that’s what I commit to do from the federal level to be able to help communities like Reno,” Warren said.
“Housing has to be a basic right because when people don’t have safe and affordable housing, all the other pieces keep breaking apart, for health care for their children’s education for their own job stability.”
She brings energy and ideas that resonate with democrats, but I am still in the market. I want someone that is going to beat Donald Trump.”
Voters weighing their options
A crowd of around 650 attendees filled the available seats at the Truckee Meadows Community College Student Center, and even more lined the second-floor balcony, for the town hall meeting. Attendance was somewhat less than the crowd that gathered Monday to listen to her competitor Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) speak.
Before the event, many attendees said they liked Warren but were still unsure which candidate they would ultimately vote for in the Democratic primary.
“I’m still kind of on the fence between [Warren] and Bernie. I like both of them a lot,” said Reno local Stephanie Snider. “Warren is like me, she’s a professional woman who works hard, who wants to improve things in the world, and it’d be nice to think that someone like me could be president.
“I really like that she’s smart, that she has plans for everything, but Bernie, he’s just awesome. He’s so personable, and they’re very similar in the things that they are … promoting and their programs. I guess I’m here because I’m trying to see which one I want to caucus for.”
The event had an open, accessible layout, typical of Warren’s rallies, and volunteers handed out raffle tickets that attendees deposited in a large bucket on the stage. Campaign staff drew tickets to select questioners for the night.
A man named Tony asked about her Medicare for All plan, and what would happen to people working in the insurance industry.
“No one gets left behind,” Warren answered, expanding on her ideas by explaining how the plan will include money for transitions, people who decide they are ready to retire, and people who might want to try something new.
“I want to get as much help to as many people as quickly as we can, give a lot of them a choice to be able to get expanded healthcare coverage, drop the age of Medicare down to 50. So if people want to opt in to Medicare, they can expand the Medicare coverage.”
Speaking in Reno on the same day the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed articles of impeachment against President Trump, the Massachusetts senator said, “There are some things more important than politics. I took an oath of office to uphold the constitution in the United States.”
She also discussed other topics including the need for tribal nations to give consent for a pipeline, or any other environmental concern taking place on federal land adjacent to tribal land.
Some voters still weighing their options
Following the event, undecided voter Mitch Knobbe said he has not entirely settled on one candidate.
“I thought Elizabeth Warren was fabulous. She brings energy and ideas that resonate with democrats, but I am still in the market. I want someone that is going to beat Donald Trump, and so that’s a big consideration for me.
“I’m just shopping for the right candidate right now. I don’t know which way I’m going to go,” Knobbe said.
Zanna Curry was more decided.
Curry said she was “thoroughly impressed by Elizabeth. I’ll be completely candid, I’m actually caucusing for Cory Booker, but if Elizabeth is our nominee, I am all in.”
Curry’s 16 year-old daughter, Daniella, chimed in. “I’m 16 so legally, I cannot vote yet, but for when I am old enough, I would be more than ecstatic to have [Warren] as a president and to lead my generation.”
From Reno, Warren heads to Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire for a Dec. 12 talk about Economic policy.
For more information on individual candidates’ housing plans, check out their campaign websites linked in alphabetical order, or head to Housing Wire’s consistently updated list of candidates’ affordable housing plans.
- Andrew Yang (https://www.yang2020.com/policies/zoning/)
- Amy Klobuchar (https://medium.com/@AmyforAmerica/senator-klobuchars-housing-plan-761e9f93f3a4)
- Bernie Sanders (https://berniesanders.com/issues/housing-all/)
- Cory Booker (https://corybooker.com/issues/housing/)
- Joe Biden (https://joebiden.com/justice/)
- Elizabeth Warren (https://medium.com/@teamwarren/my-housing-plan-for-america-20038e19dc26)
- Julian Castro (https://issues.juliancastro.com/people-first-housing/)
- Pete Buttigieg (https://peteforamerica.com/issues/#AffordableHousing)
- Tom Steyer (tomsteyer.com/affordable-housing/)
According to Housing Wire’s Julia Falcon, “President Donald Trump has yet to comment about an affordable housing plan as a tenet of his 2020 re-election campaign.”
Tabitha Mueller is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist based out of Reno, Nevada. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and English and American Literatures from Middlebury College. When she is not tracking down a story or listening to podcasts, you can find her hiking Nevada’s gorgeous terrain, perusing local bookstores, playing Quidditch, and discovering Reno’s hidden stories.