OSKALOOSA — Senator Bernie Sanders talked with a group of mostly college students about his political and economic ideology during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa Monday.
Sanders, who embraces democratic socialism, talked with students about the financial burden of academic loans and how his plan for tuition-free colleges and universities would help strengthen America’s middle class.
“In the United States of American today, we are the richest country in the history of the world. Did you know that? Many people don’t because
people like Shelby [Darland] aren’t seeing it. In the richest country in the history of the world should Shelby have to take out a loan for $20,000,” Sanders said as the students in the crowd began a round of applause.
Darland, a Grinnell College student, talked with Sanders about the loan she took out to study two-years at Ottumwa’s Indian Hills Community
College. With an eight percent interest, Darland has prepared to make loan payments well after graduation.
Sanders explained that simply obtaining a high school diploma doesn’t guarantee a well-paying job like it had in previous generations. That is
why he has proposed to extend publicly financed education beyond high school.
The senator spoke about creating social social programs like those in several European countries that would give middle class students an
education without going deeply into debt.
“You are the future of this country,” he said to the young people in the crowd. “The decisions day affect you more than other people. How are
you going to get involved in this process?”
With only 20 percent of young voters casting a ballot in the last midterm election, Sanders urged youth present to take to the polls regularly. With
increased participation, he says voters would better reflect the needs of the middle class rather than allowing the “rich get richer.”
“When we talk about the quality of democracy why is is that millions have turned their backs and said ‘I’m not going to vote, my vote doesn’t
matter or it doesn’t matter who I vote for, the rich will just get richer while everyone else gets poorer’,” said Sanders.
“It’s important to discuss wealth and income and how that is converted into power.”
In addition to the fight for a fair economy, Sanders also touched on climate change, “big money” funding politics and affordable health-
Story provided by Danielle Lunsford