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Warren rolls out council of interfaith advisers

NEW YORK, N.Y.

Elizabeth Warren on Friday tapped religious leaders from a variety of backgrounds to serve as an interfaith council for her presidential campaign, making her one of several Democratic contenders to invest in outreach to voters of faith.

Warren's new slate of 16 interfaith advisers includes several from the senator's home state of Massachusetts, including a pastor at Boston's historic Twelfth Baptist Church, as well as a rabbi for a Reform Jewish congregation in North Carolina and a sensei in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Another member of Warren's interfaith council, Rev. Marvin Hunter of Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Chicago, spoke out for a fair inquiry after his great-nephew Laquan McDonald was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2014.

Warren said in a statement that her interfaith council would work to “answer the call for social, racial and economic justice.”

The interfaith advisers will work with their respective faith communities to help boost support for Warren while advising her on relevant issues, her campaign said. One member of the council, Massachusetts-based Rev. Miniard Culpepper, is set to represent the campaign at a Sunday meeting with Iowa faith leaders.

The Warren campaign also expects to soon release a list of more than 100 faith leaders endorsing the candidate, according to a spokeswoman.

A former Sunday school teacher who has readily discussed her Methodist faith's influence on her values, Warren is not alone among Democratic presidential hopefuls in making a direct appeal to devout voters. Several Democrats already have readily courted religious supporters by emphasizing how faith connects to their agendas, even as President Donald Trump seeks to shore up his already strong support from white evangelical Protestants.

Among the Democratic candidates who have already engaged faith-focused advisers for their campaigns are former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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