I worked on the President’s 2012 campaign because of his commitment to fighting for ways for all people to succeed in our country and to build a better future for us. These values couldn’t have been more apparent during Tuesday’s State of the Union. I was proud to hear our president talk about the issues that matter to Americans, especially those that impact us as students. From the skyrocketing cost of college to the importance of raising the minimum wage, the vision the President laid out last night is distinctly American – infused with the optimism and pragmatism that has always kept our nation moving forward.
By making the issues so important to our generation a priority, President Obama has committed to leading our nation to a bright future. We know that the cost of college is unacceptably high, and it isn’t going to go down overnight. But this President has put college affordability front and center, from creating a College Scorecard to helping inform students about financial aid opportunities to keeping student loan rates low. When Republicans in Congress were ready to abandon us by doubling interest rates, President Obama stood up for us and saved money for students across the country.
President Obama’s remarks about college affordability are especially relevant for us here at CMC. Earlier this month, President Obama hosted the “White House Summit on College Opportunity.” At the summit, President Chodosh discussed the Student Imperative Initiative to raise $100 million for student aid. He spoke about CMC’s goals for “the reduction of cost, including for low- and moderate-income families, the enhancement of value, and the development of thoughtful, productive, and responsible leaders.” Prioritizing student aid and ensuring that students can come to CMC regardless of their financial background.
As students entering the job force soon, President Obama’s emphasis on America’s workers are incredibly relevant as well. Notably, the President discussed that Congress needs to step up to boost our economy and help the American people. By heeding the President’s call and raising the minimum wage, Congress would affirm that it is unacceptable for a person to work full time and live below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage is especially important to us, as many students rely on hourly jobs to help pay for their educations. Along these same lines, Congress should immediately renew emergency unemployment insurance. In California, over 600,000 people (about 1/3rd of whom are children) are kept out of poverty each year because of unemployment benefits. Without unemployment insurance, these people may struggle to put food on the table for their families and lack resources like gas money to effectively search for jobs. Obstructionist Republicans are blocking these bills in Congress, and we should stand up to them – now is not the time to play political games while hurting our economy.
Throughout his presidency, President Obama has fought to expand opportunity for all Americans – especially young people. As a College Democrat, I’m fired up to continue to stand with President Obama in this fight. It’s our responsibility to hold Congress and Washington accountable to ensure that our country’s future is bright as it can be.