Elizabeth Warren is apologizing to six women of color who left her presidential campaign office in Nevada before the state’s caucuses because they felt marginalized and because their concerns weren’t addressed by supervisors.
‘I believe these women completely and without reservation. And I apologize that they have had a bad experience on this campaign,’ the Massachusetts senator told reporters after an event in Derry, New Hampshire, on Thursday night.
‘I tried to build a campaign and an organization that is diverse and welcoming, that celebrates people, that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work every single day,’ she said.
Politico reported that the former staffers had left Warren’s campaign office by November. Nevada holds its Democratic caucuses on February 22.
‘During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,’ Megan Lewis, a field organizer who joined the campaign in May and departed in December, told Politico.
‘I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.’
Another recently departed staffer, who is also a field organizer and asked not to give her name, said ‘I felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it.’
‘We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign. Complaints, comments, advice, and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else’ the former staffer added.
A third ex-field organizer who was among the six who quit and also asked not to be identified said those descriptions matched her own experience.
The other remaining three declined to be interviewed when Politico reached out, the news outlet says.
Of the first four voting states, Politico reports, Nevada is the least one Warren has visited. The candidate has spent less than two weeks of her time visiting the state, which was another complaint voiced by the ex-staffers.
The campaign also scaled back its TV advertising there this week by about $140,000.
Campaigning in New Hampshire for the state’s February 11 primary, Warren said she understands ‘the long legacy of racism in this country and what it means, how it creates power dynamics and inequities that are toxic and dangerous and that’s why we be constantly vigilant and determined to do better.’
‘I take personal responsibility for this, and I’m working with my team to address theses concerns,’ she added.
Asked what specifically she could do to address them, she said, ‘I want to create enough space in our offices to make sure that we’re hearing from everyone and to determine where there may be concerns.’
Her campaign also had not disputed the ex-staffers’ complaints.
‘We strive for an inclusive environment and work hard to learn and improve,’ Warren campaign spokesperson Kristen Orthman said in a statement.
‘We have an organization of more than a thousand people, and whenever we hear concerns, we take them seriously. It’s important that everyone who is part of our team has a voice and can be heard. That’s why we are proud that we have a unionized staff and clear processes for issues to be addressed.’