I was 11 years old on Nov. 6th, 2012, and I still remember my parents letting me stay up to watch the news that night. It truly was a historic night as Elizabeth Warren, in beating the Republican incumbent Scott Brown, became my senator and the first woman senator from the state of Massachusetts. I became interested in politics at the age of six or seven by listening to National Public Radio in the backseat of my mom’s car. During the 2008 primary, I was proud to campaign for Hillary Clinton. It made no sense to me then—and I guess still today— that there had never been a woman in the White House. Although the Senate is not the White House, I was extremely proud to have Warren be the first woman to represent my state.

The 2012 Massachusetts Senate race was the second most costly race that year, behind only the U.S. presidential race. This was despite Warren creating and Brown signing the “clean campaign pledge,” meaning that no Super PACs were allowed to put money into the race. The pledge is a great example of Warren fighting for the everyday people of Massachusetts, ensuring that special interest groups, with their millions of dollars, not be allowed to influence the election. 

Warren grew up “in Oklahoma on the ragged edge of the middle class.” After college, she started as a special education teacher, though she was fired at the end of her first year because she was visibly pregnant. Warren then attended law school, practiced law and started teaching as a professor at Harvard Law School in 1995. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Warren created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Obama Administration. This was a culmination of her decades of fighting for working families and against the financial industry. After being elected Senator, she has continued to work on behalf of working families while sitting on the Banking Committee and grilling bank CEOs during committee hearings. 

On Feb. 7, 2017, Senator Warren started trending online and became a national phenomenon after the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, during which she tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to silence her and in doing so, created a movement: “She was warned,” McConnell said of Warren. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” On that day the country started to see her in a similar way that I did — a person who cares, and fights hard for families and the ideas in which she believes.  

On Feb. 19, 2019, Elizabeth Warren stood in front of the mills of Lawrence, Mass., the site of the Bread and Roses strike, and announced she was running for the Democratic nomination for president, continuing her fight. The signature of her campaign was, “she has a plan for that.” She had hundreds of well thought out and clearly paid for plans for everything from a blue new deal to combatting redlining and from universal child care to gun control. 

Because I was on a semester abroad in England that fall, I was not able to help the campaign in any way. However, as soon as I got back, I started volunteering for my Senator. Over the course of two and a half months, I canvassed five times in two states, spent all of Super Tuesday texting thousands of people from all over the country and called about a hundred in South Carolina, Nevada and Massachusetts. I am extremely proud of the volunteer efforts put forth not only by myself, but also by my friends, Brandeis for Warren and so many other people who volunteered on behalf of my senator. 

Sadly, after a very disappointing finish on Super Tuesday, including coming in third place in Massachusetts, Warren ended her campaign two days later, on March 5. However, the legacy of her campaign and her ideas continue to live on. Just last week, former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed the Senator’s bankruptcy plan, which would undo a 2005 law that he strongly advocated for.

Some loud and annoyed Senator Bernie Sanders supporters have told her—and sometimes me over Facebook—that she should have either dropped out earlier because she was stealing votes, or that she should have come out and endorsed him once she dropped out

“Many have attacked the Massachusetts Senator for not dropping out earlier to endorse Sanders before Super Tuesday, where he fell short in several states. ‘We are responsible for the people who claim to be our supporters,’ she said.” 

However, I disagree. Warren has the opportunity to be a party unifier, enjoying support from both the progressive and moderate wings. Endorsing either Biden or Sanders would create a bigger rift within the party. Right now, the party needs to unite in order to defeat President Donald Trump. 

I turned 18 last year, and Super Tuesday was the first time I was able to vote. I was—and still am—proud that I cast my first vote for Senator Warren. None of my stickers, buttons, shirts or posters are coming down any time soon, though they have to move from my dorm room to my room at home. I am proud of her as a candidate, I am proud of her as a teacher, I am proud of her work to create the CFPB and I am extremely proud of her as my senator. Thank you for everything you brought into the conversation during this primary and I cannot wait to see what you continue to do as my senior senator and potential Senate Majority Leader. #neverthelessshepersisted.