Tuesday, September 04, 2012

McCaskill to kick off campus listening tour today

(From the Claire McCaskill campaign)

On Tuesday, September 4, Senator Claire McCaskill will kick off a statewide "On Our Campus, On Our Side" listening tour with stops at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Westminster College in Fulton where she will discuss the clear choice in this election between herself, a Senator consistently on the side of Missouri's students and their families; and Todd Akin, a candidate who equated federal student loans to "stage three cancer," and has advocated policies that would eliminate key programs that help keep college affordable for Missouri's working families. 

"I know first-hand that a good education is the first rung on the ladder of opportunity, and we should always be striving to create more chances for hard-working students, not less," said McCaskill. "My opponent, Todd Akin, believes we should fundamentally change the American Dream by letting the big banks decide who goes to college. Pell Grants and federal student loans are an investment in America's future and Todd Akin's position that these student loans are like a cancer on our society just goes to show that he's too far outside the mainstream for Missouri's students and families." 

In June, Claire and her colleagues successfully fought to ensure the interest rate for Subsidized Stafford Loans remained at 3.4 percent. This extension was completely offset and paid for, ensuring that rates would not double for the more than 185,000 Missouri students who rely on student loans. Todd Akin missed the critical vote because he was in Missouri campaigning. 

At a debate hosted by the University of Missouri College Republicans in April, Akin told Missouri voters that the federal government should not be in the student loan business and went so far as to say that student loans were equivalent to "stage three cancer." Since receiving his party's nomination, Akin has not walked back on his comments, telling the Springfield News Leader in August, "I called a spade a spade." 

Claire has also been an ardent supporter of Pell Grants, a need based program that targets low-income students and rewards them for their hard work. Todd Akin has consistently demonstrated that he would end this program through his support of the Romney-Ryan budget which would cut $170 billion from the Pell Grant program, as well as his unwavering commitment to eliminating the Department of Education, which funds and administers the program. 

These stops are a part of Day One on Claire's four-day "On Our Campus, On Our Side" Statewide Listening Tour, during which she will talk with voters from all four corners of the state about the importance of affordable college loans. 

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