by Travis Fischer and Maria Soraghan @TravisDFischer @Maria_Soraghan
Recently Pinkerton Students Maria Soraghan and Travis Fischer had the opportunity to interview Maggie Hassan, the current Governor of New Hampshire and Democratic candidate for Senate.
We asked the Governor about issues that are important to us as seniors in high school: College. This is what we asked and the Governor’s answers to our questions;
Travis: Recently in New Hampshire, trade programs such as building construction and carpentry programs have been closing at the Community College level. How would you bring back those trade skilled jobs to New Hampshire?
Governor Hassan: Actually I know from talking with businesses and families from across our state how important it is that everybody has an opportunity to succeed. In our economy and certainly one of the things businesses talk to me is about making sure that employees are prepared for 21st century jobs and it is also really important that people have access to training for the trade, things like carpentry and other construction trades as well. So we worked with our Community Colleges and businesses across the state to focus on the kind of training that our young people and people of all stages of life need to have access to so that they can compete.
Among the things that we’ve done is spent a lot of focus on advanced manufacturing jobs. we know we have to include access to training for healthcare jobs as well as information technology networking jobs, something I’m supposed to do in my Gateway to Work program, here at the state level.
Also moving forward we have to make sure that there are trade grants [from the Federal Government] available to help our community colleges, and our career and technical education centers develop this kind of apprentice ship that we need. I’m proud that one of the things we have here in New Hampshire at White Mountain Community College is a really well regarded welding program. I met a young woman recently who was working up… in Berlin who went through the welding program we need to continue.
Maria: How would you make college affordable on the national level without putting more expense on the tax payers?
Governor Hassan: Thank you for the question. I hear about college affordability and student debt probably as much as I do about any other issue. I met with students when I was running for Governor. And so, one of the things we’ve done at the state level is that we’ve frozen state tuition at our university systems for the first time in 25 years and we’ve actually lowered tuition at our Community Colleges.
Now, having said that, they are still too expensive and one of the things I support at the national level is a increasing the amount and access to Pell Grants. And that is a difference in which ways my opponent has voted to make billions of dollars of cuts to Pell Grant programs. I support keeping them and expanding them. I also support allowing students to refinance their student loans, something my opponent has voted against doing. I have an economics plan that also outlines ways we can go about making college more affordable.
Among the things we’ve done at the state level… is we’ve made it possible for students to start at the community college system and are successful there and can go into the university system and can complete their bachelors automatically. So they get a bachelors degree at the cost of 2 years at the community system and 2 years at the university system. we should continuously look for creative ways to make college more affordable but at the federal level we should make sure we have more Pell Grants available, you can refinance student loans, and we should look at proposals like we see from Secretary Clinton that would make college debt free for everybody, and for students of families who make less than $125,000 make public college tuition free.
To pay for that, we have to be willing to close some corporate tax loopholes. For instance, there is a loophole for big oil, for wall street CEOs who get tax breaks on their bonuses. We could also close tax breaks for companies that outsource their jobs to other countries. We could make sure were cutting wasteful and abusive government as well as making sure were asking billionaires and millionaires to pay their fair share. We could afford to do that.