Elizabeth Warren is no stranger to politics. She’s been a Massachusetts senator since 2013—the first female senator for the state—and is very vocal in her criticism of President Donald Trump. But, the 69-year-old is about to become a big player in government after announcing in December she entered the 2020 race for president.
And though we’re still a long way from any significant campaigning, it’s good to know more about potential candidates. While we know that Warren is an outspoken critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, there are a few other things you might not know about her.
1. She Won a Homemaker Award in High School
If you had gone to high school with Warren, you might have thought she’d become a housewife, not a politician. Why? Well, in 1966 she won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow scholarship at her high school. But, some of the criteria for the scholarship—money management skills, community participation, and involvement in continuing education—certainly proved she had the makings for a powerful political leader.
2. She Appeared on Dr. Phil
Before Warren was a senator, she was a Harvard Law School professor. During that time, in 2004, she appeared on the Dr. Phil show after penning a book, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke. During that appearance, she advised couples dealing with major debt and went on to make a couple more appearances talking about money-related issues.
3. She Was a Registered Republican
It’s hard to imagine Warren being anything other than a democrat given her current political agenda. But, from 1991 to 1996 while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, she was a registered Republican.
“I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets. I think that is not true anymore,” Warren told The Daily Beast in 2011. “I was a Republican at a time when I felt like there was a problem that the markets were under a lot more strain. It worried me whether or not the government played too activist a role.”
4. She’s a Bankruptcy Expert
Before getting involved in politics, Warren was a lawyer focusing on bankruptcy law. She not only taught at Harvard as a professor on the subject but also became an adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in the 1990s. Later, in 2008, she was the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which handled the $700 billion big bank bailout. She ultimately stepped down from that position to create the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
5. But, Finance (and Law) Was Not Her College Major
Given her expertise, you’d think Warren knew she wanted to be a finance lawyer from the get-go. But, she actually graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology. She later earned her law degree from Rutgers University in 1976.
6. She Graduated From Law School While Pregnant
Warren already had a two-year-old when she started at Rutgers and welcomed her son Alex shortly after graduating, according to Warren’s website. “She practiced law out of her living room, but she soon returned to teaching,” it said.
7. She is a New York Times Bestseller
In addition to penning hundreds of scholarly articles, Warren has also written books. She co-authored two with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi—"The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke" and "All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan”—and wrote, “A Fighting Chance” which was a New York Times bestseller.
8. She Was a State High School Champion in Debate
Get ready for some presidential debates! Warren is so good at debating, she was a state champ and graduated from high school at age 16 with a full scholarship to George Washington University.
9. She Was Married to a NASA Mathematician
Prior to marrying her current husband, Harvard University law professor Bruce Mann in 1980, she married NASA mathematician Jim Warren at age 19. The two have a son and daughter together, and Warren still bears his last name.
10. She is Wealthy
Although Warren has been outspoken about fighting big banks, powerful corporations and the super wealthy, she is pretty well off herself. According to CNN Money, Warren is worth between $3.7 million and $10 million. Also, the home she owns with her husband is valued at $1.9 million.
11. She Was the Subject of a Rap Music Video
This is no joke. A band called Main Street Brigade put out a music video in 2019 rapping that they wanted Warren to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The lyrics went, “Got a new sheriff/Got a new sheriff/Elizabeth!” The video didn’t work though. President Barack Obama did not nominate her for the role.
12. She’s Behind the Slogan “Nevertheless, She Persisted"
T-shirts are adorned with it, and women chant it at feminist rallies. But the famous saying "Nevertheless, She Persisted" was actually coined after an incident involving Warren. Warren said she was going to read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King when arguing in opposition to the nomination of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She received a warning not to read it by Senator Steve Daines, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell moved to have her officially voted off the floor when she didn’t listen. McConnell later said, "She was warned. She was explained. Nevertheless, she persisted.”