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Warren Rallies the Dems in Lowell

September 22, 2018

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren addresses a Democratic rally at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center Friday night, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez listens. Watch video at lowellsun.com. sun/robert mills Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Lori Trahan, the nominee for the 3rd Congressional District seat, was conspicuously absent from a Democratic unity event Friday, but other Democrats, led by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, nevertheless rallied in Lowell for a “blue wave” in November.

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party declined to elaborate on a prepared statement that Trahan had “a conflict” that prevented her from attending.

But state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, one of the candidates Trahan topped to get the Democratic nomination, said in a speech at the rally that Trahan was unable to attend due to a “personal previous commitment.”

Trahan’s absence did little to dim the enthusiasm of over 100 people who attended the rally at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, as other Democratic candidates at times shouted about their intent to fight against the agenda of President Donald Trump and Republicans, who they said care only for the rich and well-connected.

“Donald Trump and his pals have been scamming the American people since day one, and in 46 days we’re coming to bust up that scam,” Warren said.

But while Trahan could not appear, Warren’s Republican challenger, Geoff Diehl, of Whitman, did.

Diehl gave a roughly one-minute campaign speech outside of the conference center prior to the start of the Democrats’ event, and cut up a paycheck with a pair of scissors as he claimed Warren has said she wants to tax people’s personal income at anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.

“I’m hoping she’s going to be more transparent and open with how much she wants to let you keep of your own money,” Diehl said.

Diehl left by the time Warren arrived and emerged from a green SUV to speak with members of United Steelworkers Local 12012, who were standing outside the event with signs.

The union members are gas workers who have been locked out of their jobs by National Grid for about three months now.

Warren listened to the union members for several minutes before heading into the campaign event, and drew raucous applause when she spoke of her support for them once inside and on the stage.

“We are in this fight for workers who are trying to organize. We are in this fight for the workers at National Grid who have been shut out and for the nurses who want safe staffing,” Warren said. “Unions built America’s middle class and unions will rebuild America’s working class.”

Warren also labeled Diehl, Trump’s former state campaign chairman, a sycophant of Trump, saying he cheered Republican efforts to take health care from millions of Americans, bragged about “the Republican’s 1 1/2 trillion tax giveaway to billionaires and giant corporations,” and supports Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ efforts to privatize public schools

“No matter how far Donald Trump sinks, my opponent stands by his man in the Oval Office,” Warren said.

Warren described Trahan as a woman who will fight for all of her constituents, and not just those who can buy access to her ear.

“Lori will do whatever it takes to defend each and every one of you and fight for a government that works not just for the wealthy and well-connected, but that works for everyone,” Warren said.

Warren went on to speak about freeing college students from crushing debt, believing in science and fighting climate change, and giving every child in America a fighting chance.

Noting that she is the daughter of a janitor and dropped out of school and got married at 19, a decision she described as “not smart,” Warren said she got a second chance.

“My second chance was a commuter college that cost $50 a semester, and I ended up as a public school teacher, as a college professor, and as a United States senator because America invested in me,” Warren said. “I’m grateful down to my toes to that America, and I’m fighting for an America where every kid, no matter what that kid’s zip code is, has that same fighting chance.”

L’Italien; state Rep. Rady Mom, D-Lowell; and City Councilor Ed Kennedy, who is running for state Senate, were among the early speakers at the rally.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez spoke of how his parents met while his mother was 19 and in a student exchange program in Spain, only to come home pregnant and married to his father, who had never been to the U.S. before.

But he said his parents worked hard to build a life together and that both ended up successful, with his father becoming a small businessman.

“They were just little guys who believed, and because of their example I believe too,” Gonzalez said as he described himself as the little guy in his race against Gov. Charlie Baker. “The values I learned from my parents aren’t unique to my family. They’re our values -- American values.”

But Gonzalez said not all politicians fight for the little guy, and criticized Baker for his support of Diehl and for only reluctantly speaking out against Trump.

“I get it. Many are just relieved to have a governor who isn’t a crazy right-wing extremist,” Gonzalez said. “With Donald Trump setting the bar so low, not being crazy seems pretty good. But it’s not good enough -- not for us, and not for Massachusetts.”

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills

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