U.S. Senate candidate Democrat Elizabeth Warren was greeted by a full house in the Brooksby Village Chapel Monday afternoon.
Warren, who is running a heated race against incumbent Republican Scott Brown, in just about an hour with her elderly audience of residents, covered everything from Medicare and Social Security to the debt, her family and licenses to practice law and investing in the country's future.
On not a few points, she characterized the decision for Massachusetts voters on Election Day as one between two starkly different choices and philosophies -- one that truly sided with working families and vulnerable segments of the population and one that was really just in it for the independently wealthy and big corporations.
She said the race is about building and investing in the country's future.
"On the one side, Scott Brown, Mitt Romney and the Republicans have said, in effect, the way we're going to build the future in America is cut taxes for those at the very top and just leave it to everybody else to pick up the pieces," Warren said. "I think we are a better people than that and we can do better than that."
She said her plan, shared by President Barack Obama, is that a "much better path is to say that everybody pays a fair share, even the millionaires, even the billionaires, even the big oil companies, and that together we make investments in the future."
"This race is about two very different paths that America could take," Warren said, adding that her efforts now are in part to honor her own parents' hard work, raising four children in a thoroughly blue-collar home, but with an eye to the future.
"They knew down to their toes that they were raising four kids in an America of expanding opportunity. We've gotten too far away from that... I am in this race because I am committed down to my toes that we will have our children and grandchildren grow up in an America of expanding opporutnity," Warren said.
She began her remarks saying she never thought she would run for public office and talked about her background, particularly as a "baby sister" to three older brothers who all served in the military.
Warren said she learned important policy and moral values from her brothers, including to honor promises to veterans, to respect employee unions, which have been "important to building the middle class," and likewise honoring promises to seniors.
"I learned we honor our promises to our seniors and we do not cut Social Security and Medicare or the Affordable Care Act," she said.
Warren said key investments need to come in three areas: education, infrastructure and various types of research (medical, engineering, science, etc), all of which have been hallmarks of America's past prosperity.
"We were pretty sure that if we built a big pipeline of ideas it would create opportunities for the future," Warren said. "We made those investments together, because we knew it would pay off in the long run."
"As I see it, that's what this race is about...it's about how we build a future... it's also how we pay for the past," she said.
"Every time I start thinking of that $16 trillion we owe as a country, I think about my eldest grandchild...he's the one who's going to have to pay that debt if we don't do something about it," Warren said, arguing that is both an economic and moral fight.
She said the Republicans' vision for dealing with the deficit is by not reaping "one penny more" in tax revenues from the wealthy 2 percent, but rather deep cuts and in areas where the "most vulnerable" populations are affected, i.e. Medicare and Social Security.
Warren said revenues have to increase, tax reform is needed, the top 2 percent should return to paying higher tax rates from the tenure of President Bill Clinton, and big oil subsidies and those for agriculture need to be cut along with military spending.
"We have to take a balanced approach to dealing with our deficit," she said, arguing that if Brown and his fellow Republicans aren't willing to do that then they aren't serious about the issue and are willing to leave the current generation's grandchildren to pay off the debt.
"I don't want to go to Washington for the millionaires, billionaires and Wall Street, I want to go to Washington to fight for working families," she said.
After her remarks, Warren took a handful of questions from the audience, including topics of her law licenses, her work on the federal consumer protection agency, tax reform and taxes on corporations.
Brown similarly appeared at Brooksby Village last month to a packed house, but according to event organizers at the retirement complex, asked that the campaign stop be open only to residents and staff and therefore did not notify the press.
Both Brown and Warren filmed separate brief television spots, which will be aired on Brooksby's internal station, to encourage residents to get out and vote on Election Day.