Specter Talks About Education, Healthcare
Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) spoke in the HUB yesterday to a small crowd of seated students. He addressed numerous state and national issues, ranging from student loans to sanctions in Iran.
Specter is hoping to retain his senate seat in this year’s midterm elections and has been campaigning throughout the state. During his stop at Penn State, Specter spoke about the battle he would face come November,
Incumbents are an endangered species.
Specter, a Democrat, described his controversial decision to change parties last year from the Republican party, arguing that a major factor in his defection was the GOP’s staunch opposition to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He believed that without the ARRA, the country might have slipped into a depression comparable to 1929.
On the subject of education, Specter said:
I have a very warm spot in my heart for education.
He proposed and announced support for a bill of rights on education that would establish accessibility, affordability, opportunities for minorities, and programs for medical students, a creation of a special Secretary for Education, and provide more opportunities for debt forgiveness. He spoke about the growing number of students graduating with debt. He proposed offering up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness if students perform public or community service. He also said that with the passage of the healthcare bill, the nation would require at least 16,000 more medical professionals, prompting him to call for more encouragements for students to enter medicine.
In the Q&A forum following Specter’s speech, students were given the opportunity to ask the Senator questions on a number of issues. When asked how he planned to pay for his educational proposal, Specter said that the increased amount of graduating students would in turn yield more contributing tax-payers and create more quality jobs in America’s job market.
He was also asked about his stance on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to which he replied:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has outlived its utility.
He agreed with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ stance to repeal DADT and said that sexual orientation is irrelevant on the field of battle.
After questions were over, he gave some last minute campaign plugs and said that he would be recruiting some 200 young people across the state to help in his campaign.
StateCollege.com posted a video of the event.