Democrats propose debt-free college to students at ODU rally

By Ja'Rae Bolton

NORFOLK – Hampton University students may have a lower debt from college if they vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine.

Friday, Kaine promised a crowd at Old Dominion University that the first phase of lowering student debt would be rolled out in the first 100 days of the new administration.

"We are at a point where student loan debt is higher than credit card debit in the United States," Kaine said during the open-air rally outside Rollins Hall on ODU's campus. "Hillary and I have a vision of debt free college. It is a goal but a very big goal ... to support students furthering their education."

Kaine and his wife Ann Holton were greeted by cheers while "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" rang out as they walked out onto the platform. Holton opened the program talking about the powerful women who have supported her husband and how much he appreciates their support of the Clinton campaign.

"Payback is great," Kaine responded. "This is the best way to honor all the woman that have supported me."

Dozens of volunteers handed out water, registered people to vote and asked the audience to work with the campaign.

Security was high as about 300 attendees followed a path down toward the mainstage. Numerous local, regional and state politicians were present.

Karla Grase, Co-Chair of the Hampton Democratic party, started things off at 5 p.m. with an acapella version of the national anthem. Congressman Bobby Scott, who is vying for Kaine's Senate seat if he wins in the general election, urged the crowd to fight for Clinton and Kaine.

"If we do what we are supposed to do and carry Virginia the Republicans will have to win states they haven't won in three decades," Scott said.

Kaine also talked of the work Democrats have ahead of them, urging supporters to volunteer, then criticized Donald Trump, saying Americans want "Dictatorship not leadership." The audience cheered when Kaine said that "someone who cannot pass a fifth grade civics test should not be allowed to be the president."

Kaine went on to discuss the current state of the economy, our international allies, foreign relationships, and charity. He compared his work with ODU as a senator and a member of this community to the lack of charity.

Kaine urged the crowd to get out in their communities and talk about the campaign because television commercials no longer have the impact they once did. "People will always listen to their friend or neighbor," Kaine said.

Other speakers included Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, members of the armed forces and President John Broderick of ODU.

Kaine closed by saying "Democrats are underdogs. Let's make history."

The student is a writer at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

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