Congresswoman Katie Porter, a rising star in the Democratic Party and House of Representatives, returned to her home state of Iowa this weekend to support her mentor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Porter was born in Fort Dodge and grew up in Iowa before becoming a representative for a historically Republican district in California.
She also sat in Warren’s lectures as a student at Harvard University before teaching at the University of Iowa College of Law for six years, from 2005 to 2011.
Porter and Warren
Once endorsed by Warren for her House run, Porter has now announced her endorsement of Warren for president. CNN first reported that she was expected to, and the endorsement officially came two days later.
To back up her endorsement, Porter joined Warren Sunday for a town hall in Davenport. Then, she went to Iowa City to attend a canvass kick-off hosted by the Warren campaign.
Warren was campaigning in Eastern Iowa following Friday’s Liberty and Justice Celebration, the largest Democratic gathering before the Democratic National Convention in July.
Porter has risen to national fame for the way she questions corporate executives as a member of two financial services subcommittees in the House.
In that way, she’s a lot like the mentor she endorsed.
Porter studied under Warren at Harvard and credits Warren with helping her advance her career as a law professor and eventual member of Congress.
Before joining Warren in Davenport, Porter was with Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne, a fellow freshman representative, at a Des Moines fundraiser hosted by the Polk County Democrats on Saturday.
Porter climbed onstage in Davenport to a chorus of cheers. She said she was happy to return to Iowa, and told a story about growing up here when a small-town bank closed and sent the town into a tailspin.
“That was a really long weekend, for my family, for my town. We didn’t know what was going to happen because when your town bank closes, there’s nowhere to go to get help when you need it,” she said.
Porter said it changed her view of politics. Before, she thought politicians helped those in need.
“When I was a kid, I saw that people in Washington on both sides of the aisle forgot about us when times were hard, and that was a really awful lesson from my childhood and I have never forgotten that,” she said.
Porter then talked about being in Warren’s 8:00 a.m. class at Harvard 30 years later, and how the class inspired her to pursue a career in bankruptcy law. She called out the disparity between the bank bailouts after the Great Recession while many families were left in the lurch.
“That is not fair, it’s not our country and we can change it,” Porter said. “We can make sure that we have people in Washington who fight for us, who hear our stories, who know our struggles.”
In the 10 months she’s been in the House, Porter said she learned a lot about the type of president Americans need in the Oval Office.
She said the American people need someone who knows what it’s like to be a single mom dealing with financial insecurity, who worries about paying for a new home, college or retirement.
“We need to send someone to Washington who will always fight for us,” Porter said. “Who hears us, who knows our stories and will make our struggles their struggle in Washington. I am so proud to be back home, in the state that showed me what grassroots politics is really all about.”
After another chorus of applause, Porter said, “Please let me introduce my friend, my mentor, and my inspiration for taking Jamie Dimon down, Senator Elizabeth Warren!”
As the opening notes of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” started playing, Warren bounded up to the stage. When she got there, the two women hugged and stood onstage together with their arms around each other, grinning and waving at the crowd.
“Is Katie Porter the best?” Warren asked the crowd. “I always knew she had it in her … And thank you for taking down Jamie Dimon. He definitely deserved it.”
By Nikoel Hytrek