Monday, March 12, 2012

Shining Stars of Davida: Elizabeth Warren

Based on the amount of emails I’ve received about Elizabeth Warren from various feminist and women’s organizations, I feel like she’s the political poster child for women’s rights.

I’m certainly impressed with Warren. She was born in 1949, so she was raised in the “occupation: housewife” era. When her working class father had a heart attack, he was not able to support the family anymore, so she and her mother had to go to work. Despite her responsibilities at home, she was an extremely successful student: at age 16, she was awarded a full debate team scholarship at George Washington University.

A boy in her situation probably would have graduated after four years, gone on to get a masters or law degree, and become a professional supporting a family. This was not the road Warren took. Although she aspired to be a teacher, she dropped out after two years at GW to marry her high school sweetheart.

After teaching on and off for a few years, her friends encouraged her to go to law school. She listened to their advice and got her degree from Rutgers, where she was an editor of the Law Review. After divorcing in 1978, Warren went on to teach law at several universities across the country while doing research on personal finance and the economy.

Her work was so influential that she was asked to advise the National Bankruptcy Review Commission (NBRC), where she drafted the NBRC’s report opposed laws that restricted people’s right to file for bankruptcy. She was also a member of the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (which advises the FDIC regarding access to banking services) and the National Bankruptcy Conference (which advises Congress about bankruptcy law). While doing all this, she wrote dozens of articles and six books (including The Two-Income Trap). All of these activities landed her on television to discuss the economy and bankruptcy several times.

She began her governmental/political career in 2008, when Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed her to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP). The COP reviews the state of the markets, the regulatory system, and the Treasury Department’s management of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and presents its findings to Congress every month. In 2010, because of her lobbying, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established with Warren as its director.

Warren is currently running for US Senate in Massachusetts. She obviously champions anything that can help fix the economy, especially if it will benefit the middle class. Warren is very much a feminist, as she is endorsed by NOW, EMILY’s List, FMF, and other organizations. She supports women’s right to have good health care, reproductive rights, and access to contraceptives. She also supports LGBT equality (Massachusetts is one of seven states that have legalized same-sex marriage), as she hopes to get rid of DOMA and prevent bullying based on sexual orientation.

I am also happy to say that she is 100% behind Israel. She says on her website, “I unequivocally support the right of a Jewish, democratic state of Israel to exist, safe and secure. I believe that it is a moral imperative to support and defend its existence.”

The polls show that the election between Warren and her opponent, incumbent Scott Brown, is pretty close. We’ll have to wait until November to find out the results. Until then, here’s hoping for Elizabeth Warren!

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