My wife and I have been dealing with student loan debt throughout our marriage. Eighteen years and 2 kids later, and we’re still paying back these loans, with interest! This experience is a systemic crisis. Thousands of students across the U.S graduate each year with tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. These folks are forced to put off their goals and instead spend years and years paying off this debt. I firmly believe that the key to our future as a nation is investing in our public education systems – primary, secondary and post-secondary. People who further their education shouldn’t have to live in extreme debt. Students should be have the opportunity at low cost, or tuition-free education. In an effort to do our part, my family and I founded an annual scholarship at Moraine Valley Community College to lessen the financial burden on recipients. But more needs to be done. What we need as a country is a reallocation of funds to our public education systems to support our students. As your Congressman I would:
- Work to drastically reduce the cost of higher education.
- Support living wages for teachers.
- Work to ensure that every school, from the suburbs to the inner city, have the resources they need to provide successful outcomes: including funding for upgrading facilities, new classroom technologies and their associated trainings, comprehensive health education, and after school programs.
- Support STEM programs across IL-3, including advocating for federal and private sector grants.
- Develop and introduce The Blend Program, aimed at providing vocational training and teaching high school students real world skills including financial literacy. This will prepare students with the skills they need to slot into industry positions immediately after graduation.