Berkshire politicos weigh in on Warren's 2020 bid

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Connect with Middle America and ignore President Trump's rhetoric.

Those are two bits of local political advice for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren should she run for the White House in 2020.

On Monday, Warren announced in an email to supporters she has formed an exploratory committee, typically a step toward announcing a full-fledged campaign to win a political party nomination.

The Democratic lawmaker, who this week begins her second term representing the commonwealth on Capitol Hill, released a video on her website touting her blue-collar roots and claiming she has fought for middle-class families within the state and on the national stage.

If Warren enters the presidential race, she will need to broaden her appeal, according to state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.

"This is an opportunity to test the waters. If she does run, she has to overcome the stigma of being from Massachusetts, and she needs to appeal to the blue-collar worker," he told The Eagle in a phone interview.

Eugene Dellea, of West Stockbridge, a leading Democratic Party supporter who for years has campaigned for Kennedy family candidates, urged Warren to look outside her comfort zone for support.

"You look at the blue and red states and the blues are along the Atlantic coast. She needs to focus on the Midwest," he said.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, believes Warren can speak to Americans from coast to coast. "She cares about working families, seniors and people who haven't had a fair shot," she said.

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Assuming Warren wins the Democratic nomination and faces Trump in two years, she'll need to rise above the president's rhetoric, say local Democrats.

"She has to totally ignore him ... and show she can handle everyday problems," Dellea said.

Added Pignatelli: "If Elizabeth Warren has any discipline, she can't be sucked in by the Trump campaign."

Farley-Bouvier says you can't assume who the Republican presidential nominee will be in two years, but if it's Trump, she expects Warren will be ready for him.

"There's nobody tougher than Elizabeth Warren; she knows how to stand up to people," she said.

Andrea Harrington, who earned an endorsement from Warren before winning the Berkshire district attorney's seat in November, offered supportive words following the Monday morning announcement.

"Sen. Warren has been a champion for Massachusetts and for working people in the United States Senate," Harrington told The Eagle.

She said Warren brings strong leadership on issues like consumer protection, health care, civil rights and environmental issues. And Warren "has improved the lives of countless Americans."

"Now, more than ever, we need leaders like Elizabeth Warren to step up and stand up for the tenets of democracy like facts, science and human decency," Harrington said.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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