By Simon Isham–
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky democratic candidate for US Senate, held a rally today at U of L’s Red Barn to promote an agenda of college affordability.
The line waiting to get into the Red Barn before the event stretched three blocks into the Miller Hall resident parking lot. Members of the Grimes campaign said that the building was filled to capacity. The crowd was composed of mainly older adults. Many of the college students who did attend the event were campaign volunteers.
Grimes was joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts democrat who rececently sponsored a failed proposal to reduce the interest rate of student loans. John Yarmuth, a Kentucky member of the US House of Representatives, was also present at the event to lend his support. The event was sponsored by U of L’s Young Democrats RSO.
“This event is not just about college students, but also about people who don’t have the opportunity to go to college,” said Connor Allen, president of Young Democrats.
Warren told the audience that she graduated from a college whose tuition was $50 per semester. She said that was possible because the previous generation had made an investment in the country’s youth, and that the current generation should be prepared to be the same.
“The government is making tens of billions of dollars on student loan debt,” she said, arguing that Grimes’ opponent, Mitch McConnell, is a part of that institution. “McConnell led the fillibuster against (my) student loan debt proposal … we fell two votes short.”
Grimes took the stage next. An education, she said, “should be the passport out of poverty, not into it. Mitch McConnell turned his back on Kentucky when he filibustered Senator Warren’s bill.”
She closed after indicating that her campaign was ahead in the latest polls.
Members of the College Republicans were present outside the event, holding signs attacking Grimes and promoting McConnell. They also handed out doughnuts. During the event the group released a statement in response to the rally:
“Elizabeth Warren’s visit to Kentucky is the latest proof that Alison Grimes is going to be a follow-the-leader Democrat who will fall in line with President Obama’s job-hurting agenda. Warren often associates herself with President Obama, and Warren unashamedly supports laws and regulations that hurt Kentucky jobs and industries. Additionally, Alison Grimes is using Warren’s failed student loan bill—which would only aid about 10% of student borrowers and relies on increasing taxes on job creators by 30%—in an attempt to draw in and deceive young voters. The youth of Kentucky are tired of being pawns in Alison Lundergan Grimes’ political games. Kentucky students deserve a loud, proven voice in the Senate, which is why we fully support Senator Mitch McConnell.”