DeKalb County for Warren, a local grassroots organization in support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid, had its kick-off event 7 p.m. Thursday at Pizza Pro’s, 1205 W. Lincoln Highway. Those in attendance were provided with information about the campaign and how they could get involved.
The event was free, although donations were accepted. Mark Pietrowski, Cortland resident and organizer with DeKalb County for Warren, said about $400 was raised.
At the event, attendees asked questions about Warren’s position on issues such as Social Security, and they shared ideas for how they could promote her policies; one of which involved reaching out to the American Constitution Society at the NIU College of Law and holding debates over proposals such as Medicare for All.
DeKalb County for Warren will have its first canvass at 10 a.m. Sept. 21, where volunteers will meet at the DeKalb County Democrats’ Office, 205 N. Second St. in DeKalb.
Other future events will be shared on a closed Facebook page called DeKalb County Illinois for Warren. Other questions about the organization and how to get involved can be answered by Pietrowski at 815-762-2054 or email@example.com.
Kori Rempfer, of Cortland, organizer with DeKalb County for Warren and Pietrowski’s wife, said the organization emphasizes the freedom to promote one’s own ideas.
“We really get to create our own vision of what we want to talk about,” she said to event attendees. “We want every one of you to feel ownership, and have ideas and feel like it’s your organization, too.”
Rempfer said the organization’s mission isn’t to criticize or put down Warren’s Democratic competition.
“[We’re] here to prop up her ideas and ideas for the United States of America, not to tear down other candidates or their supporters,” she said.
Steve Kapitan, of DeKalb, political affairs chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Party, attended the event “out of curiosity.”
“I have supported Bernie Sanders in the past,” he said. “But I like Elizabeth Warren and I came here to hear about what’s going on here locally.”
Kapitan also said it was “important” for college students to get involved in this election “because their future is at stake.”
“Just look at climate change, for one thing,” he said. “That’s going to critically affect their future.”
Also among those present at the event were Douglas Moore, of Sycamore, and Christi Slavenas, of Genoa, a former teacher.
Moore called Warren’s policy proposals “very detailed,” and said health care is most likely the “main issue” that concerns DeKalb County residents.
“They want to have basically everyone that’s an American citizen to have access to health care, you know, without worrying about pre-existing conditions and all of those other things,” he said.
Slavenas said Warren “understands the economic issues for our country,” before expressing her disappointment in how the United States is “not investing in public education.”
“I’m a former teacher, and so I believe strongly in public education,” she said. “My dad was able to go to college on the GI Bill, and [for] people at that time, you know, college tuition was like $300 a semester.”