Former President Bill Clinton talks student loans, jobs at Manchin rally
Published: Monday, October 11, 2010
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 23:10
Former President Bill Clinton made an appearance in Morgantown Monday to speak during Democrat Joe Manchin's Senate campaign rally.
Clinton spoke to participants gathered at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park about what qualities Manchin has over his opponents in the race to fill the Senate seat held by the late Robert C. Byrd.
Clinton mentioned several student issues as problems that need fixed or have been fixed by Congress, such as loan repayments.
He referenced the student aid initiative, a bill attached to the health care reform bill that will overhaul the student loan industry.
"You young people listen to this, every student in America can pay the loan back as a small fixed percentage of their income for up to 20 years," he said. "Why is this important? Because we fell from first to ninth in the world in percentage of our people with four-year college degrees," Clinton said.
America ranks first in college enrollment, but has a high drop-out rate because students are afraid they can't borrow money or pay back their loans, he said.
"Finally, that's been fixed, its the best bill that has been passed in the last year and half that only 5 percent of the Americans know about," he said.
Clinton added Republicans are seeking to repeal this bill and make it more expensive to go to college. Manchin would fight the repeal, he said.
There are 3 million jobs in America that are open, Clinton said, as he moved his speech to the topic of employment. Mobility has a lot to do with this large opening, because most Americans can't move from homes they purchased to find work.
The government should supply money in training more people for these jobs to decrease 2 percent from the nation's unemployment, he said.
Manchin spoke before Clinton about recent campaign ads against him. He addressed how he has been called a "rubber stamp" for President Barack Obama by his opponent Republican John Raese.
"The only thing I am a rubber stamp for is for the people of West Virginia," Manchin said.
Approximately 50 West Virginia University students attended the rally to listen to Manchin and Clinton speak.
Amber Rose, a senior animal nutritional sciences major, said she came to the rally to get more informed on the issues that could affect students.
"Students should come listen to the issues and not the crap they hear on TV or radio announcements. They should research the issues," Rose said.
Rose said she was interested in hearing what Manchin would do for small businesses because her family owns a business.
Having a large student-voter turnout would give WVU a voice in the election, said Warren Hilsbos, a junior philosophy major.
"There's no way we can sit back without our input," Hilsbos said. "For this midterm (election) I would like to see more than a 25 percent voter turnout."
Tessa Houston, a senior multidisciplinary studies major, said even though she was not registered to vote in West Virginia, she came to make herself more aware of the issues.
"It was a good experience, and I learned a lot about West Virginia," Houston said. "WVU students should get more involved, because we all live here."