One of the fundamental strengths of our nation is its ability to raise up educated young people to meet the challenges facing us in the 21st Century. As we face a $1 trillion student debt crisis in this country, it is imperative that we understand how we got into this situation, and how we need to re-prioritize in order to get out of it.
When our parents went to college, they could afford to work a minimum wage job to make ends meet, get a decent education, and graduate with good odds of having a career in their field that provided not only a living, but a life. Now, because minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living and the rising costs of higher education, our students are forced to take out loans to pay for their diplomas. This in turn creates a system of indentured servitude as young people seek to make a life after graduation.
Where’s Bob Latta in all of this? We’re facing a possible financial crisis comparable to the housing bubble collapse of 2008, and my opponent is nowhere to be seen. According to federal disclosure sources, Bob Latta’s personal wealth has doubled to more than $2.3 million since taking office. Can we safely assume that being a multi-millionaire makes it impossible for him to understand what the average family is going through? Is it possible that Bob Latta is the Mitt Romney of Northwest Ohio? He’s out of touch, out of reach, and in with the big banks who stand to make a bigger profit off the backs of college students.
When Bob Latta went to college, I doubt he had to work his way through it. But if he did, he would have been able to hold down a part-time minimum wage job and probably still graduate debt-free. Now, this is an impossibility. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day for a student to earn their way through college.
To add insult to injury, federal regulations of student loans and Pell grants are drawing the noose tighter, so much so that if your household makes over $23,000 a year, you will be expected to pay larger amounts out of pocket for your education up front. Furthermore, those who do qualify for student loans will pay an interest rate of 6.8% starting in July, which is double the current rate.
A friend of mine recently called me in tears, because she calculated that the cost of her PhD and other degrees will force her to make a monthly payment of $1200 for thirty years. She’s the inspiration behind the video I want to share with you now…
Many people are beginning to question if a college education is worth the financial investment, and I don’t blame them. We need a new set of priorities in Congress. We need representatives and senators who recognize that the key to our well-being is in providing a viable educational opportunity for every single person, from pre-school through college. The creation of the world’s strongest public education system will herald a new era of innovation and job growth. This is the world I want not just for my kids, but for every kid and young adult in Ohio’s new District Five.
I have no illusions about being elected to Congress and waving a magic wand to change everything overnight. But I do know that there are good people in Congress who are already working on behalf of the middle class, and I intend to join ranks with them to make college more affordable for everyone. I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, I believe that education is the key to not just making a living, but having a life. This November, vote to send me to Washington, and that’s what I’ll be fighting for. Thank you.