Harvard Staff Weigh in on Senate Race

With Harvard faculty members showing unprecedented financial and public support for colleague Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for U.S. Senate, Harvard’s staff members have also begun to make their choice in the competitive race between the Law School professor and incumbent Senator Scott Brown. Working in the traditionally liberal bastion of Cambridge, many Harvard staff interviewed for this article—ranging from dining hall workers to security guards—say they stand behind Warren.

Blondell Newbon, a card checker in Adams dining hall, ranks the economy and jobs as her top priority this fall.

In the aftermath of the economic meltdown, “we’re still working from paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “We’re going to have to do something.”

For Newbon, that means voting for Warren—or “Elizabeth,” as Newbon calls her.

“I came from a poor background and raised my son alone,” said Newbon, who finds Warren’s middle class upbringing appealing.

According to Newbon, Massachusetts needs Warren’s level-headed approach to politics and strong advocacy for middle-class concerns for the next six years.

“Warren has proven herself,” Emeka F. Onyeagoro, a door checker at Lamont Library, said. “She’s just as capable as Brown in representing the people of Massachusetts.”

He listed her extensive experience as a consumer protection advocate as a reason to vote for her.

According to Onyeagoro, Warren’s Harvard affiliation “has no bearing whatsoever” on his decision.

“I traditionally vote Democratic,” Onyeagoro said simply.

Others echoed Onyeagoro in referencing loyalty to the Democratic Party as the main reason to vote for Warren.

“She’s a Democrat, and I’m a Democrat,” said Jorge P. Teixeira, the Adams House building manager.

He said he has paid attention to Warren’s work with the middle class and the way that she presents herself on the news.

A security guard, who wished to remain unnamed since Securitas policy discourages employees from speaking to the media, noted that although he remains undecided about the presidential race, he has recently begun to lean towards Scott Brown, despite Warren’s connection to Harvard.

When he met Scott Brown on the campaign trail last year, he was immediately struck by Brown’s charisma.

“He’s a more outgoing and personable person,” he said, comparing Brown’s easy manner to Warren’s somewhat stiffer persona.

“When someone makes themselves immediately and directly available to the people, that means the world to me. They’re at your level, part of the team,” he said.

Brown’s background in the military also “scores a lot of points with me,” he said.

—Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at laurareston@college.harvard.edu.

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