By NEPHTHALIE LAUTURE
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) spoke at the grand opening of the Virginia Victory 2014 Fredericksburg campaign office in Spotsylvania as a part of his campaign tour, Fair Shot for All Virginians.
At the event, held Tuesday, Aug, 19 at 5 p.m., Warner explained his efforts to boost entrepreneurship, discussed economic policies and touched base on some prevalent issues leading up to the Nov. 4th senatorial election. The campaign office will serve as a political community center for Warner’s 2014 campaign activities, as well as other local democratic candidates.
Notable Fredericksburg community leaders attended, including former Fredericksburg mayor Lawrence Davies and former Spotsylvania supervisor Emmitt Marshall. Congressional candidates Jack Trammel and Norm Mosher were also in attendance and spoke briefly before handing the floor over to Sen. Warner.
Warner’s speech, which lasted 15 minutes, touched on many state issues, including student debt and his work for veterans.
“I worry when I see that young people now coming out of school aren’t coming out with $15,000 worth of debt, but with 50 and 60 and 70 thousand dollars worth of debt. It’s just crushing their chances,” said Warner.
Education reform is nothing new for the former Virginia governor. Between the years 2002-2006, Warner has introduced numerous reform initiatives to support parents, students and teachers of various communities to aid and improve struggling schools.
According to Warner’s campaign site, Virginia saw the largest increase in K-12 educational support in the state’s history in 2004 due to successful bipartisan budget and tax reforms when he was governor.
Recently, Warner, alongside Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), introduced the Dynamic Student Loan Repayment Act. The bill, a bipartisan effort, introduced in July, outlines methods to improve the federal student loan program through income based repayment plans.
Under the bill, all loan borrowers could opt into a payment plan where 10 percent of the borrower’s annual income from their monthly paychecks would be used toward paying off their debt. With student debt reaching around $1.2 trillion, the bill offers opportunities to students across America looking to make their loan repayment more manageable.
The past week, Warner went on a statewide college tour where he connected directly with students to discuss his plans to fix the nation’s student debt crisis.
“We’re going to crisscross across the state to get as many college campuses. Because both rising tuition and rising amount of student debt are really cutting off a lot of your generation’s chances,” said Warner.
“As I said, I’m not sure I would’ve taken the chances before I was successful if I couldn’t pay the debt that many of our students have,” said Warner. “I think we’ve got to find ways to refinance that debt.”