Government & Politics

Sen. Warren cheers Kander, slams big business and Blunt in Kansas City

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander waved to more than 1,000 people Friday during a campaign event for Kander at the College Basketball Experience in downtown Kansas City. Kander is in a tight race with Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander waved to more than 1,000 people Friday during a campaign event for Kander at the College Basketball Experience in downtown Kansas City. Kander is in a tight race with Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt. along@kcstar.com

One moment, Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, was attacking wealthy corporations and the economic squeeze on the middle class.

The next, she was touting Jason Kander, a military veteran and Missouri’s secretary of state, as a cure for what she sees is ailing America.

Warren packed a capacity crowd of more than 1,000 people into the College Basketball Experience in downtown Kansas City for a rally to help Kander’s campaign for the U.S. Senate as his attempt to replace incumbent Republican Roy Blunt heads into its final days.

Polls have reportedly shown that the race between Blunt and Kander has tightened.

“Missouri needs another senator who will vote for the hard-working people of Missouri,” Warren said. “Not for Wall Street and giant corporations. Missouri needs Jason Kander.”

And for every moment Warren took to praise the young Missouri Democrat, she also took time to slam Blunt, whom Warren has served with in the Senate.

“I wish that Roy Blunt was part of the solution,” she said, before telling a story about him voting against one of her bills aimed at helping young Americans with student loan debt. “But he’s not. He’s part of the problem.”

Her speech lasted roughly a half-hour, and she cast a wide net of policy proposals, ranging from her goal of raising the minimum wage, to championing unions and the need to help ease the cost of education.

“I worry about what’s happening in this country today,” Warren said. “ ...We live in a world where Washington works great for the rich and the powerful. For everyone else, not so much.”

When he introduced Warren to the packed room, Kander said the middle class was shrinking, while politicians like Blunt aren’t do anything about it. And America is at its best, he said, when the middle class is at its strongest.

“It’s important for us to remind them,” Kander said. “Working Americans aren’t looking for a handout. They’re just looking for a level playing field.”

One Missouri Republican didn’t miss a beat in slamming Kander for campaigning with Warren.

“The people of Missouri do not need this kind of representation,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer said. “They want Sen. Blunt to continue to represent us.”

Later on, after she’d taken Blunt to task for his votes in the Senate, called for equal pay for men and women, and denounced Trump’s campaign for president, Warren stood back and held up her arms for the cheering audience.

“I could do this all day,” she said.

Reporter Dave Helling contributed to this story.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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