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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D)

Massachusetts

N/A

warren.senate.gov

Biography

Elected: 2012, term expires 2018, 1st term.

Born: June 22, 1949, Oklahoma City, OK

Home: Cambridge, MA

Education: University of Houston, B.S., 1970; Rutgers School of Law, J.D., 1976

Professional Career: Assistant to the president and special adviser to Treasury secretary, 2010-11; professor, Harvard Law School, 1992-2013; professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1987-1995; professor, University of Texas, 1981-87

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Methodist

Family: Married (Bruce Mann) , 2 children ; 3 grandchildren

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who beat Republican Sen. Scott Brown in one of 2012’s marquee races, is the senior senator from Massachusetts. Her toppling of Brown thrilled liberal activists, many of whom see her as a feisty guardian of consumers’ interests, and she became the subject of seemingly nonstop speculation as a progressive possibility for the White House in 2016. In seeking to explain her appeal, she told The Washington Post in January 2015: "I'll always be an outsider. That's how I understand the world." 

Warren traces her political convictions to both her academic research and her hardscrabble origins. “It’s part biography and part seeing what’s happening,” she said in an interview with National Journal. “Working families have been getting slammed. Washington has been rigged to work for those who can hire an army of lawyers and an army of lobbyists.” While she was growing up, she added, the United States was “a country of expanding opportunities. … Now we talk much more about protecting those who have already made it.”

Warren grew up in Oklahoma City. Her teen years were marred when her father, a maintenance man, suffered a heart attack. His lost pay and his medical bills imperiled the family’s finances; Warren and her mother went to work. But bright young Betsy, as she was known, made it to college on a debate scholarship at the age of 17 and became the first in her family to receive a college diploma.

Warren married young, had two children, picked up a law degree from Rutgers University in 1976, and went through a divorce, earning an appreciation for working moms. She combined her two passions—law and teaching—as an instructor in law at the universities of Houston, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and developed a specialty in bankruptcy law before arriving at Harvard in 1992. For many years, according to The Boston Globe, she was the only public law school graduate on the tenured faculty at august Harvard Law School. Along the way, she remarried, to Bruce Mann, also a Harvard law professor.

Warren was a registered Republican as recently as 1996. But the families she met in her research into bankruptcy changed her life. “These were hard-working, middle-class families who by and large had lost jobs, gotten sick, had family breakups, and that’s what was driving them over the edge financially. It changed my vision,” Warren said at an appearance at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007.

Warren’s expertise in bankruptcy issues brought her to Washington and public policy, and the expert became an advocate. She went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, testified on Capitol Hill, wrote articles and books, served in advisory capacities, and raised alarms about the big financial firms and banks and their lobbyists. Warren helped lead the unsuccessful fight against the 2005 bankruptcy bill, a law that made it tougher for consumers to obtain the protection of the courts. In 2008, amid the great financial crash, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid named Warren to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, and in 2010 and 2011—as an assistant to President Obama and special adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner—she helped design and launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a legacy of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Her work earned Warren the enmity of the financial industry, and Republicans blocked her expected appointment as the bureau’s first director.

Warren’s experiences in Washington led her to the Senate race, where she challenged Brown for the seat he had won in a 2010 special election after the death of Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. She became a national sensation when a speech she gave, exhorting wealthy Americans to recognize the debt they owe to the community and “pay forward for the next kid who comes along,” went viral. Warren became a “Doonesbury” cartoon heroine, a liberal darling, and got a prime-time speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic convention.

Brown had shocked Democrats when he won a January 2010 special election to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, a revered figure in Massachusetts and national politics. He received substantial support from tea party interests who were upset about Obama’s health care overhaul, and his election ended the Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority in the Senate. But he steered clear of the tea party in compiling a determinedly centrist record, voting to repeal the ban on openly gay service members and for the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul. In his campaign, he stressed his bipartisanship and independence from his party’s leaders. Because he was well-liked, Warren seemed to struggle to put a dent in his support when her message was aimed only at him. In September, though, she adjusted her focus and began asserting that a vote for Brown was a vote for a Republican Senate majority, a sentiment that resonated with voters.

Warren held her own in debates with Brown who, recognizing he was vulnerable, repeatedly censured Warren for claiming that she had Cherokee ancestry. It was a ruse, Brown’s supporters said, that Warren used to exploit affirmative action plans, an allegation she denied. Warren won the election, 54% to 46%. She held him to 51% in his base in Norfolk County, southwest of Boston, while getting 73% in Boston’s Suffolk County and 56% in adjoining Middlesex County, the state’s largest. Both candidates agreed to ban outside spending, but each still took in lots of money: Brown raised $28 million (and spent $35 million), while Warren raised and spent more than $42 million.

In the Senate, Warren vowed to tackle taxes, entitlements, and education. “I am a woman of big appetites,” she said, when asked about the ambitious agenda. “A little wonky, but of big appetites nonetheless.” She sought a seat on the Banking Committee, and financial industry executives openly crusaded against the idea, citing what they called her hostility to Wall Street. But her liberal allies pushed back vigorously, and she was named to the committee.

On the panel, Warren joined a legislative push for an overhaul of the Glass-Steagall Act, introducing a bill to separate traditional banks that offer checking and savings accounts from riskier financial services, such as investment banking and swaps dealing. The measure picked up the support of Arizona Republican John McCain, but other GOP lawmakers wouldn't touch it and it languished in the 113th Congress (2013-14). Her pointed grillings of top Treasury Department and Federal Reserve officials on that subject and others won her widespread attention on YouTube and more admiration from the left; The New Republic in April 2013 dubbed her a "Regulatory Rock Star." 

In her first year, Warren was the Senate's 31st most liberal member, according to National Journal rankings. She was fairly in line with her party on economic and social issues, but showed a bit more independence on foreign-policy matters. She was among four Democrats who joined most Republicans in November 2013 in opposing a failed amendment that would have allowed the transfer of inmates housed in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay only after the administration submits a plan on where the detainees would be housed within the United States.

By 2014, with Hillary Clinton dominating the Democratic discussion about the presidential race, the public and media pressure began building on Warren to throw her hat in the ring. She published a book, A Fighting Chance, that packaged her philosophy in a way that only fed that speculation. At the liberal Netroots Nation conference in July, supporters handed out hats, signs and bumper stickers to that effect, and she brought the crowd to its feet with her angry denunciations of big business. "A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank launders drug money and no one gets arrested. The game is rigged!” she said.

A draft-Warren movement quickly ramped up; by January 2015, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America had collected 244,000 signatures in an online petition to draft her to run. "This is Elizabeth Warren's moment," said Ben Wikler, MoveOn's Washington director, at a December gathering of progressive activists.

But Warren repeatedly expressed zero interest in running. "I had to work really hard to get here [to Congress]," she told Esquire. "I said, 'If I get to the United States Senate, I'm going to use that opportunity to work for the middle class and for working families every chance I get.'" In interviews, she repeatedly batted away the question by answering "I am not running for president," but in a December interview in Fortune magazine, put the issue in the future tense. When asked "Are you going to run for president?" she answered, "No."

Political observers confirmed that she had done none of the normal spade work in preparation for a presidential race, such as collecting the contacts of wealthy donors, and she kept the news media at arm's length -- so much so that The Boston Globe ran a front-page article on why she wouldn't follow the usual Senate practice of answering reporters' questions in Capitol hallways. Unlike Obama, who drew similar speculation when he came to the chamber eight years earlier, she was determined to keep the focus squarely on her legislative work.

Her disavowals did little the quiet the growing rumbles among Democrats. Those rumblings grew louder in November 2014, after her party suffered a meltdown at the polls and lost its Senate majority. Reid named her to the Senate Democratic leadership in a new post: "strategic policy adviser" to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee to serve as an envoy to liberal groups and help shape the party's message.

The rumblings continued in January 2015, when Antonio Weiss, whom Obama had nominated as Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, withdrew his name from consideration. Weiss, an investment banker, had drawn Warren's fierce opposition. Warren's allies said the episode typified how she intended to use her clout -- by reminding presidential candidates of both parties, including Clinton, of the public's disgust with Wall Street having its way in Washington. "The worst case for us is that [Clinton] gives a feisty speech now and then, but surrounds herself with the same old” economic advisers with close ties to the financial world, an anonymous Warren adviser told The Post.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4543

(202) 228-2072

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 317
Washington, DC 20510

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4543

(202) 228-2072

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 317
Washington, DC 20510

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 224-4543

(202) 228-2072

JFK Federal Building Room 2400
Boston, MA 02203

DISTRICT OFFICE

(617) 565-3170

JFK Federal Building Room 2400
Boston, MA 02203

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 224-4543

(202) 228-2072

1550 Main Street Suite 406
Springfield, MA 01103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 788-2690

1550 Main Street Suite 406
Springfield, MA 01103

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Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Remy Brim
Legislative Assistant

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Aerospace

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Agriculture

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Animal Rights

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Appropriations

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Arts

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Banking

Lauren Miller
Digital Director

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Campaign

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Commerce

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Consumers

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Crime

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Disability

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Remy Brim
Legislative Assistant

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Economics

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Beth Pearson
Economic Policy Fellow

Education

Joshua Delaney
Legislative Assistant

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Energy

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Entertainment

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Environment

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Family

Joshua Delaney
Legislative Assistant

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Finance

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Foreign

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Grants

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Gun Issues

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Health

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Remy Brim
Legislative Assistant

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Homeland Security

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Housing

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Jason Burrell
Special Assistant to the Senator

Human Rights

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Immigration

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Insurance

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Internet

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Labor

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Land Use

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Medicare

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Remy Brim
Legislative Assistant

Military

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Minorities

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Stephanie Akpa
Policy Counsel

Native Americans

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Privacy

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Public Works

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Jason Burrell
Special Assistant to the Senator

Science

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Seniors

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Small Business

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Social Security

Louis Katz
Legislative Aide

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Technology

Ashley Coulombe
Special Assistant; Legislative Aide

Telecommunications

Jonathan Donenberg
Legislative Director

Julie Babayan
Legislative aide

Trade

Transportation

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Jason Burrell
Special Assistant to the Senator

Veterans

Bruno Freitas
Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development

Feras Sleiman
Legislative Aide

Welfare

Melea Atkins
Legislative Aide

Lindsay Owens
Retirement and Economic Policy Advisor

Women

Remy Brim
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Elizabeth Warren
Votes: 1,696,346
Percent: 53.78%
Scott Brown
Votes: 1,458,048
Percent: 46.22%
2012 PRIMARY
Elizabeth Warren
Unopposed

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