Tennant, Warren Define Differences

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – A political rally for Senate candidate Natalie Tennant, featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was ostensibly to unveil Tennant’s education plank in her campaign platform.

But several topics were covered contrasting Democrats and Republicans, summed up by the often repeated slogan “Vote for Main Street, not Wall Street.”

Held Monday at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, an estimated 400 people from across the Eastern Panhandle attended the rally. Tennant won the Democrat primary in May.

Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012, defeating Republican Scott Brown to become Massachusetts’ first female senator. She has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

Warren has introduced several pieces of legislation in the Senate to reduce the interest on federal student loans.

Ashley Hall of Harpers Ferry introduced Tennant and Warren. She is in her third year of law school at West Virginia University.

“I had to take a loan for law school and I’m $73,000 in debt,” she told the crowd. “I’ll be $108,000 in debt by the time I graduate. Those loans earn $11.53 in interest every day. I don’t expect handouts, but students deserve lower interest rates on their student loans. We need a strong voice in the U.S. Senate. That’s why we need Natalie Tennant.”

In her remarks, Tennant defined what she believes are the differences between Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming election.

“This race is not about me – it’s about you and it’s about students like Ashley,” Tennant said. “We need to invest in our greatest resource: People. I support Sen. Warren’s bill to lower interest rates on student loans. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers and they must have the best tools to achieve success.”

Warren’s bill to reduce the interest on federal student loans has stalled in the Senate.

“We’ve told students they need to have an education beyond high school, but the cost has skyrocketed, so the government will lend students money to go to school,” she said. “There’s a little hook in the government lending money. The American government is charging young people a high enough interest on their loans to pay for all the costs and to make tens of billions of dollars in profit – $66 billion in profits.”

Warren said the profits are built into future federal budgets.

“To replace that money, all we need to do is stitch up the tax loopholes so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same tax rate as you,” she said. “Republicans say it’s more important to protect tax loopholes for millionaires than to protect our kids. They say it’s more important to stand up for Wall Street than for families.”

Warren said she and Tennant do not agree on every issue.

“But on the core issues, we agree,” Warren said. “Our job is to fight for the families of America. I like Natalie. She’s strong and she’s ready to fight.”

Warren is a supporter of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and the Obama Administration’s strict limitations on the amount of carbon that coal-fired power plants can discharge, a move many believe will destroy West Virginia families – the same families Warren says she’s fighting for. Tennant, a strong supporter of President Obama, has criticized the EPA’s and administration’s policies on carbon limits.

Warren asked the audience to spend part of each day until the November general election working for Tennant’s election.

“She has stepped up to the plate – we need to step up to the plate with her,” Warren said. “What’s at stake is Wall Street or families of West Virginia.”