Virginia Senator Tim Kaine Visits Ferrum

By Patrick Duggan

On April 12, President Spooner hosted another town hall meeting in Vauhn Chapel with special guest Senator Tim Kaine. Kaine talked about his past in public service and policy and his educational background. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and later earned his law degree from Harvard. While studying at Harvard, he took a year of leave to serve and do humanitarian work in South America, where he decided he wanted to work in public service. After graduating from Harvard, Kaine worked as a lecturer at the University of Richmond, where he was also working on the City Council and later elected mayor. In 2005, he was elected to be governor of Virginia and served until 2010. He has served as a senator since 2013 and was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 Presidential Election.

     Senator Tim Kaine said that he had always been passionate about education and how vital it is for members of society. He has spent much of his time professionally trying to better education at all levels. He praised the state of Virginia and its higher-ed system, saying its quantity and diversity are incredible. Kaine emphasised how it is almost impossible to survive in this world without an education and that making education an option to all is a top priority. He advocated for the use of vocational and trade schools and said that dual enrollment and AP courses should be more available in high schools to lessen the financial burden on students. After sharing his personal thoughts on education in Virginia, Kaine opened the floor up to comments, questions, and suggestions regarding higher education.

    Responding to questions about the free college proposal popularized by senator Bernie Sanders, Kaine said that he supported the idea but that it should not be for all. He said as someone who can afford to put his own children through school, it would be wrong of him to take financial assistant from kids who desperately need it. However, he said that the country in general needs to reorganize how student debt is taken care of. “It’s crazy how you can’t file bankruptcy from college debt, but you can declare bankruptcy after spending too much money on a yacht, a home, or a vacation,” he said. Kaine said believes that more financing, consolidating, and forgiveness options for student loans need to be made available.

    Sophomore Kate Anderson asked if government should be able to fund schools to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly or if that was up to the school’s budgeting alone. Kaine said that government incentives for sustainability and environmental consciousness were an option.

    Kaine encouraged students about to continue furthering their educations and urged everyone to find some way of serving the public throughout their life. He reminded the audience that education is a tool everyone should have in their arsenal and having that tool can only take one further in life.

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