DOVER — Immediately after formally launching her presidential campaign in front of an audience in the thousands at an outdoor rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren headed directly to the Seacoast.

“We dream big, we fight hard, and we make the change America needs. That’s how we’re going to win,” Warren, D-Mass., said at Dover City Hall to a crowd her campaign estimated at 350.

Warren promoted her progressive agenda, calling for Medicare for all, increased infrastructure spending, and the sweeping Green New Deal bill to combat climate change. She also urged “making real investments in education, to our little kids to our kids in higher ed.”

She emphasized “we’ve got to change the rules to root out corruption in Washington. Two, we’ve got to change the rules in this economy. And three, we’ve got to change the rules in politics land that means protecting our democracy. We need a constitutional amendment to protect the right of every American citizen to vote and to get that vote counted.”

Warren, who was re-elected last year, spelled out her efforts to fight on behalf of working-class Americans and highlighted her lower-middle class upbringing in Oklahoma.

Warren made no mention of the swirling controversy over her longstanding claims of Native American heritage, which resurfaced over the last week and served as a major distraction as she geared up for her anticipated official campaign launch. Warren wasn’t asked about the controversy during a 45-minute question and answer session with the audience of local lawmakers, Democratic activists and Granite State voters.

Warren’s release in October of a DNA test, meant to bolster her longstanding claims of Native American ancestry in hopes of settling the controversy, was widely panned. The move was intended to rebut Republican President Donald Trump’s controversial taunts of Warren as “Pocahontas.” Instead, her use of a genetic test to prove ethnicity spurred controversy that seemed to dampen the case she hoped to make.

Taking the DNA test also angered some tribal leaders of the Cherokee Nation, which resulted in an apology by Warren to the tribe last week. She apologized again in the last couple of days after the surfacing of a 1986 registration card for the Texas state bar showed she had written “American Indian” as her race. The inability to put the controversy to rest and the intensive national media coverage has proved to be a distraction to Warren, taking her off message in the days leading up to her presidential announcement.

Many people in the pro-Democratic crowd down played the controversy and said it likely wouldn’t factor in their choice in next year’s presidential primary.

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” said Anna Marchesani of Dover. “It wouldn’t influence my vote.”

Dover resident Julia Saulnier said “it doesn’t affect the way I’m going to decide.”

Warren didn’t mention Trump’s name during the event, but one questioner, in a critical reference to the president, thanked the former law professor “for using complete sentences.” The moment elicited laughter from the crowd.

Warren declared her candidacy hours earlier at the Everett Mills in Lawrence, site of the two-month long Bread and Roses strike in 1912, when textile workers protested a cut in pay implemented after a shortening of the workweek for women. She then headed to Dover, which has its own rich working-class history.

Coming directly to New Hampshire was no surprise, as pundits see the first-in-the-nation primary as a must win for a presidential contender from neighboring Massachusetts.

Before appearing on stage in Dover, Warren met privately with some leading state lawmakers and activists, including attorney Bill Shaheen, a Democratic National Committee member from New Hampshire, and husband of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Also in the group were state Sens. David Watters of Dover and Jon Morgan of Brentwood, Rockingham County Democrats chairman Larry Drake, and Portsmouth Democrats chairwoman Laurie McCray.

After her Dover stop, Warren headed to Iowa for a full day of campaigning Sunday in the state that votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.