Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought her platform of women's rights, green manufacturing and jobs development June 5 to Fort Wayne to try to win over the industrial Midwest, which supported Republican President Donald Trump when he was campaigning.
The Massachusetts senator held a live town hall with MSNBC host Chris Hayes moderating the event during his "All In" show. Warren is running in a crowded field as one of two dozen Democrats that include former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
For Courtney Tritch, who ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic ticket against U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, in 2018, Warren brought her near tears as she talked about women's issues. Warren told of her struggle as a working mother, trying to take care of both a house and her young children while finding time to create lesson plans as a teacher. A relative came to the rescue to live with the family for several years.
Hayes had started off the town hall by discussing Biden's refusal to support a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal money to pay for abortion except to save the woman's life, or if the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
"... under every one of these efforts to try to chip away or to push back or to get rid of Roe v. Wade, understand this," Warren said. "Women of means will still have access to abortions. Who won't, will be poor women. It will be working women, it will be women who can't afford to take off three days from work, will be very young women."
However, for those angered by Trump's deal with Carrier Air Conditioner, a division of United Technologies, to keep some jobs in Indiana instead of going to Mexico in exchange for large tax credits, her "economic patriotism" ideas were just another politician's campaign promises. As part of Warren's plan, she said she'd create 1.2 million union jobs.
"They're all bought by somebody. I think politicians should wear NASCAR jackets, with patches so you can see who's sponsoring them," said Frank Staples of Stringtown, northwest of Indianapolis, after the town hall. He had been a panelist at the event.
Despite the tax credits, Susan Cropper of Gas City still lost her job at United Technologies in Huntington after 39 years. After being unemployed about 7 months, she found another job.
"I'm working, but I'm not making as much money," she said before the town hall started, during which she took part in the panel discussion.
Fort Wayne maintains a strong manufacturing base.
"We are in the heart of the industrial Midwest here in Fort Wayne, Indiana," Hayes said at the beginning of the show. "It's a city that's seen its fortunes rise and fall over the past century in a state that helped power Donald Trump to victory in 2016 amid his promises of protecting jobs and keeping factories open.
Why Fort Wayne for a Warren town hall? Because she’s going into the heart of Trump county.
"We're in Fort Wayne, Indiana, because people in Indiana understand jobs," Warren said. "They understand how you build an economy that doesn't just work for a thin slice at the top, but an economy that works for everyone.
Asked how Allen County's General Motors plant wouldn't be negatively impacted her green energy platform, Warren discussed how President Kennedy set a deadline for getting an American on the moon before anyone knew how to do it, but "we invested in the American worker."
That lack of a direct answer was something Joe Ceruti, who owns Bergstaff Place, the site of the town hall, noticed.
"She wasn't ever specific," said Ceruti, who described himself as an Independent. Anything detrimental to GM would also hurt its vendors, which includes his catering business, he said.
This was the 95th town hall of Warren's campaign. She’s been to 20 states and Puerto Rico.