U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren joined us for a live chat with Patch readers on July 13. Many of the questions submitted were about her position on healthcare, job creation and the affordability of higher education.
Check out the following short recap, or browse through the .
On her heritage
Patch: The first question came from a reader in Lynnfield. "Although there is a relatively small number of Massachusetts voters of Native American descent, do you feel you have addressed their concerns about your own statements involving your heritage?"
Elizabeth Warren: Growing up, my mother and grandparents often talked about our family's Native American heritage. As a kid, I never asked them for documentation--what kid would?
But growing up, I knew that my parents had been very much in love, but that my father's family said they couldn't get married because my mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware. So they eloped. We grew up with this all our lives.
I never asked for—and never got—any benefit in school or in jobs. The people who hired me have said that they didn't even know about it when they recruited me—and it played no role in my hiring.
So there it is.
From Dennis Naughton: "I am a senior citizen and am very concerned about the future of Medicare. Senator Brown has made it clear that he supports the Republican ideas that would tend to privatize the system. I oppose that idea, especially given the collapse of the economy and what it did to 401k's. What is your position on the future of Medicare."
Elizabeth Warren: I disagree with Republicans who want to privatize Medicare. Cutting Medicare won't keep people from having heart attacks or developing diabetes. In other words, people will still get sick and they will still need care. Pushing the costs of their care on families or emergency rooms doesn't change the basic calculation, and it certainly won't cut overall health care costs.
The real issue is the rising cost of health care that is squeezing families. We need to work on cutting health care costs. The Affordable Care Act begins the process, but we need to do more to improve quality while reducing overall costs.
If I can put in a plug for our local folks, some of the best research in the country and some of the most exciting innovations in health care delivery are happening right here in Massachusetts. We should support this work—that's how we move forward.
From Johnny: "What job programs do you support to aleviate unemployment? Would you be in favor of lowering capital gains to make it more appealing for companies to have business here?"
Elizabeth Warren: Last fall Scott Brown and all the Republicans voted to block three jobs bills in a row. We had nearly a quarter of a million people unemployed here in Massachusetts. The first jobs bill would have supported about 22,000 jobs here in MA, the second would have prevented layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police all across the Commonwealth, and the third would have supported nearly 11,000 jobs mostly in construction in transportation.
These jobs bills could have made a real difference in the lives of thousands of families and helped our economy recover faster. I support any and all of them.
From Karl Johnson: I'm a school committee member from Dover. I know you're a supporter of holding the line on college interest rates. While this is an admirable band aid to nominally mitigate student debt burdens it doesn't address the underlying need for reducing the out of control growth in college and university tuition costs vs. household income growth. What would you do to encourage and/or force structural changes in the college/university cost structure to truly make higher education affordable to middle and upper middle class families?
Elizabeth Warren: College costs have gone through the roof. A young person today going to a state university will pay (adjusted for inflation) more than 350 percent of what a student would have paid thirty years ago. Investment in public universities has declined, and that has forced more costs onto the students.
Universities and students are trying hard to make progress and changes. They are trying to save money, improve graduation rates, and improve job placement rates. They are working hard to innovate. I recently visited Bunker Hill Community College. Classes start at BHCC at 7 a.m. and the last class STARTS at 11:45 p.m. The students, teachers and the school are struggling to use their facilities to their fullest extent so that they can deliver a quality education to as many people as possible.
We need to support students who are trying to get an education—and that means supporting the schools that are trying to educate them.
Those are just a few of the questions Warren answered during our 45-minute live chat. You can read the .