This state-level action will give voters a unified Democratic message going into the 2016 election. All three Democratic presidential candidates have embraced debt-free college, and so have 100 members of Congress.
Progressive organizing has led to all three Democratic presidential candidates embracing debt-free college and 100 members of Congress have endorsing it.
“Progressives are unifying the Democratic Party around a bold Elizabeth Warren-style agenda that motivates people to get to the polls and that would be a game changer in millions of lives,” said PCCC debt-free college campaign director Kayla Wingbermuehle. “The progressive strategy now is to go deep, unifying the Democratic Party around debt-free college and ensuring that there’s an undeniable mandate in November of 2016.”
Lawmakers include those from the First in the Nation states with Rep. Marjorie Porter of New Hampshire, Rep. Chris Hall of Iowa, and Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of South Carolina, from key battleground states with Rep. Stephanie Howse of Ohio and Rep. Katrina Shankland of Wisconsin, plus Rep. Paul Mark of Massachusetts, Rep. Will Guzzardi of Illinois, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of Missouri, Rep. Paula Hawks of South Dakota, and Rep. Kaniela Ing of Hawaii.
Here’s what lawmakers have to say about the importance of debt-free college:
“Debt-free college will be a major voting issue in New Hampshire in 2016. Voters are counting on Democrats to make debt-free college a central campaign issue. My colleagues and I will be working hard at the state level to do so.” — NH Rep. Marjorie Porter
“In Iowa, debt-free college will be one of the top issues people think about when they vote in 2016. This is something we are working on in the Iowa House, and with our colleagues in the Senate. One of the greatest strengths of this issue at a state level is the adaptability of trying to find a solution that fits each state individually.” — IA Rep. Chris Hall
“I’m excited to see all three of our presidential candidates have made this an issue in their campaigns.” — SC Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter
“I believe that now more than ever, the state of Ohio should work to eliminate this pervasive obstacle and make strides in this issue by recognizing that all students should have the ability to attend colleges or universities and attain postsecondary degrees while graduating without debt.” — OH Rep. Stephanie Howse
“The longer we wait to act, the more this crisis grows. With the average Wisconsin college student graduating with $28,800 in debt, our economy is lagging and Wisconsin’s hard workers pay the price. The time is now to act for real reform: debt-free college.” — WI Rep. Katrina Shankland
“Student debt prevents talented students from pursuing higher education, it prevents graduates from realizing their full potential, it negatively impacts the economy, and if allowed to continue unchecked, it will have a devastating affect on the higher education system. I urge more states to join us in this effort to make college affordable and accessible to all who have the will and desire to pursue higher education.” — MA Rep. Paul Mark
“We’re filing a resolution as a starting point to show the political power of this issue. By advancing this debt-free college resolution, we Democrats will show the voters a clear contrast: that we’re the party working to give all children a chance at a post-secondary education they can afford. It’ll be a key issue in a tough election cycle.” — IL Rep. Will Guzzardi
“I am very glad to see the unified support shown by progressives on this issue. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Missouri Senate to gather support for the debt-free higher education initiative. Considering the importance of a college degree for employment, and the benefit of an educated workforce for all taxpayers, the need for action is clear.” — MO Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal
“South Dakotans and students across America need action, action that finally addresses the crippling student debt load we are placing upon those trying to better themselves in our higher education systems. I will build a coalition and support for Debt Free College that will once again open wide the door of opportunity for South Dakotans.” — SD Rep. Paula Hawks
“Our disincentive for education is completely backwards, and it’s really not a problem for most industrial nations, who enjoy debt-free college. It’s time for our state leaders to stand up and recognize that our system is broken. Higher education should create opportunity and propel students forward, not set them further back.” — HI Rep. Kaniela Ing
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