Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge) was sure to make one thing clear during her visit to Attleboro Tuesday afternoon.
The Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate race doesn't plan on surrendering Southeastern Massachusetts to Republican incumbent Scott Brown, a Wrentham resident.
"Not a chance," she said. "Let me tell you why I’m not conceding this area to Scott Brown: Any place where hard working families are trying to build a future for their kids is a place I’m not conceding."
Warren, who is the front-runner in a primary that includes Salem attorney Marisa DeFranco and Dover Attorney Jim King, met with manufacturing workers at Rika Denshi America before meeting with supporters at Morin's Bar and Grille in Attleboro.
The Harvard Law professor touted an agenda that would help the middle class and invest in infrastructure, education and research.
The daughter of a maintenance man, she said she was able to live the American Dream through policies that supported working class families.
"I was drawn into this race because America’s middle class is getting hammered," she said. "That’s why I’m here. I lived the American dream and I worry that the next generation won’t get that same thing."
Her trip to Rika Denshi and her conversation with vice president and general manager Larre Nelson helped re-affirm her support for infrastructure investment and health care reform.
"I just thought it was very interesting," she said. "Ask someone who does manufacturing, and what was the main thing that they're worried about? A lot of it was around infrastructure, but the second thing he turned to was the cost of health care."
With her supporters at Morin's, she answered questions ranging from collective bargaining to conflict in the Middle East.
Warren touched on her disapproval of the state's newly adapted Municipal Health Insurance Reform Act, which enables communities to forego a traditional collective bargaining process with their unions in order to save on health insurance costs.
Last month, Easton selectmen voted against adopting the act this year, citing past success with unions in collective bargaining.
She said the legislation was "undercutting collective bargaining rights," and it is not a way to "strengthen America's working families."
"I understand the condition municipalities are in, but they shouldn’t be placed in that position," she said. "That’s the wrong place for us to be. [We should be] making the investment that other countries are making in infrastructure."
Rather than making investments in infrastructure, education and research, Warren said the nation has begun to invest in "those who already made it" like oil companies, hedge funds and big companies who ship jobs overseas.
"That's not a question of economics," she said. "It's not a question of finance. It's a question of our values and that's why I'm running."
The Democrat will have her work cut out for her against Brown.
A recent Suffolk University/7News poll showed a 9-point advantage for Brown, and a 60-40 advantage for Brown amongst Independent voters.
In 2010 against Democratic nominee Martha Coakley, the Wrentham Republican captured virtually every community in southeastern Massachusetts, with the exception of Democratic strongholds like Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, and lower Cape Cod.
Brown won Easton by nearly a 30 percentage point margin, 64-36.
Brown also has an advantage in fundraising. While Warren had approximately $6.1 million in filings at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, Brown had more than twice that - nearly $13 million, according to the Boston Globe.
Warren said that despite trailing Brown in fundraising, she hopes to out battle him on the ground.
"I'm in Attleboro today because the way to build a campaign is person, to person, to person," she said. "I see this as a grassroots campaign."