Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hero to progressives, nemesis to Wall Street, Massachusetts U.S. Elizabeth Warren holds the seat once occupied by one of her heroes, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Warren’s supporters want her to run for president, but she says she has no plans to do that. She joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss her life and work.
On not running for president
“I want to fight the fight, right now, this minute. I have a bill pending to refinance student loan debt. I think it is obscene that the United States government is making profits off the backs of our kids, and I’m out there fighting for this bill.
What I care about is that everyone who runs for president, who runs for any national office right now, talks about this core set of issues about what kind of a country we are.
“I have a bill pending right now in Washington to try to put more money into the National Institutes of Health. It’s an idea that would generate another $6.4 billion in research that could help us cure Alzheimer’s, diabetes.”
“What I care about is that everyone who runs for president, who runs for any national office right now, talks about this core set of issues about what kind of a country we are, and what kind of a future we’re building.
“For me, this is really personal. You know, I grew up in a family that had a lot of economic ups and downs, and my dad ended up as a janitor, my mom worked a minimum wage job at Sears. There was no money for college for a kid like me, and I graduated from college because I could go to a commuter college that cost $50 a semester.
“How can college cost $50 a semester? Because the American taxpayers were helping support those public institutions to say to any kid: ‘Hey, look. If you work hard you play by the rules, you really get out there, you’re gonna have an opportunity, you’re gonna have a fighting chance.’ We’ve turned away from that world, and it’s time that we build it again. It’s time that we say to all our kids, you can have a fighting chance, too.”
On whether Sen. Chuck Schumer will be minority leader
“I think it’s pretty clear that Chuck [Schumer] is going to be the leader, and I talk about this in my book, that Chuck was one of the first people to support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and to get out there and fight for it.
“I remember the very first press conference that he helped put together where we brought this idea up and then got out there and started fighting for it. He’s been there on the front lines.”