PHOENIX (CN) – In her first town hall following a lauded performance in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to a packed concert venue Thursday about corruption in the federal government.
Thursday’s town hall marked Warren’s first visit to Arizona since announcing her run for president.
Attendees stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the 2,500-capacity Marquee Theatre in Tempe after some waited hours in 104 degree heat to enter the theater.
About another 100 people unable to get into the venue waited outside in an overflow lot and were greeted by Warren before the event began.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. introduced Warren to the crowd, listing her qualities that brought him to throw his support behind her.
“The qualities of intellect, the qualities of capacity and the critical quality of heart,” Grijalva said. “Qualities, that I might add, the current occupant of the White House lacks.”
Grijalva announced earlier this week that he had endorsed Warren’s 2020 campaign, after previously backing Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016.
“We need to deal with climate change and do it now. We need to unify a nation and not continue to marginalize,” Grijalva said.
Warren entered the stage to country music superstar Dolly Parton’s anthem to working women, “9 to 5.”
Once on stage, Warren talked about childhood, when her mother took a job at Sears to support their family after her father suffered a heart attack.
“When I was a girl, a full time minimum wage job in America would support a family of three,” Warren told the crowd.
Today’s minimum wage, Warren said, “would not keep a baby and a momma out of poverty and that is wrong and that is why I’m in this fight.”
Warren warned that the threat on democracy from corruption is real.
“We’ve got to knock back the influence of money in Washington,” she said to raucous applause. “We’ve got to get on our front foot and run right up the middle of it.”
Warren suggested stopping the “revolving door” between Washington and Wall Street, and making U.S. Supreme Court justices follow “basic rules of ethics on conflicts of interest.”
“And you really want to root out corruption?” she asked. “Make everyone who runs for federal office put their tax returns online.”
Despite the obvious dig at President Donald Trump, Warren never mentioned him by name throughout her 75-minute speech.
“My daddy ended up as a janitor, but his baby daughter got opportunity,” Warren said. “Opportunity to be a public school teacher. Opportunity to be a college professor. Opportunity to be a United States senator. And opportunity to be a candidate for president of the United States of America.”
Citing the heat and the size of the crowd, Warren said she would not be taking questions from the audience but would instead address the issues she is questioned about most: immigration, climate change and guns.
Under her presidency, Warren said she would expand legal immigration and provide a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” and “grandmas and grandpas.”
On climate change, Warren put inaction on lawmakers.
“Politicians continue to take money from giant oil companies, from big mining companies,” she said. “Politicians keep taking money and keep doing nothing. This is the urgent crisis of our time.”
On her first day in office, Warren promised to place a moratorium on any new drilling or any new mining on federal lands or offshore.
Warren said she supports universal background checks and taking “weapons of war off our streets.”
“Why don’t we do it?” Warren asked. “Corruption! The NRA holds Washington by the throat.”
President Trump also rallied supporters Thursday in Cincinnati, Ohio, railing against many of the same topics like gun control, clean energy, and sanctuary cities.
In an Economist/You Gov poll released Wednesday, Warren polled in second place of the Democratic presidential candidates with 18%. Former Vice President Joe Biden led with 26% of voters polled.