Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicks of presidential run with whirlwind tour of Iowa

On the heels of announcing last week an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked off a 3-day tour of Iowa on a mission to fight.

Interested in ?

Add as an interest to stay up to date on the latest news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

“This is an America that is working for those at the top and not anyone else, and that is why I’m here,” Warren said at a Friday evening event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the first of five back-to-back speeches and meet-and-greets with voters planned for the weekend.

The Democrat from Massachusetts is the first high-profile figure to announce an exploratory committee and has picked up staff from other presidential campaigns, hitting the ground early.

Michael Dwyer/AP, FILE
Sen. Elizabeth Warren gives her victory speech at a Democratic election watch party in Boston, Nov. 6, 2018.

“I’m in this fight because I am grateful,” she said. “My daddy ended up as a janitor and I had a chance to become a public school teacher, a college professor, and a united states senator. I am grateful to America down to my toes. I am grateful, but I am also determined.”

I’m in this fight because I am grateful. My daddy ended up as a janitor and I had a chance to become a public school teacher, a college professor, and a united states senator. I am grateful to America down to my toes. I am grateful, but I am also determined.

The senator began her 3-day tour of the state just across the border from Nebraska, in a humble bar and grill that held a crowded group of supporters and intrigued voters in a standing room, plus a large group standing outside in the weather -— luckily, a balmy temperature for Iowa in the winter.

She became emotional as she described her frustration at witnessing the Donald Trump administration’s border security policies.

“I went down to the border,” she said, explaining that she saw “cages full of” detained migrants — men, women and children each in separate holding pens.

PHOTO: In this June 30, 2018, file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a rally in Boston. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking the first major step toward running for president. AP
In this June 30, 2018, file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a rally in Boston. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking the first major step toward running for president.

Warren’s trip to Iowa is her first event after announcing an exploratory committee for 2020 -— a significant step toward announcing a full-fledged presidential run. Iowa is the first state to hold a major contest in presidential elections with its caucuses and holds unique power -— it can fuel momentum, as it did for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential run in 2016 — or hamper it.