Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. Sanders spoke to a crowd about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's economic plan. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. Sanders spoke to a crowd about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's economic plan. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Bernie Sanders in Iowa City: Clinton college plan best for all

By Maria Curi | maria-curi@uiowa.edu and Marissa Payne | maryssa-payne@uiowa.edu 

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today in Iowa City where University of Iowa students interviewed by The Daily Iowan agreed Clinton’s plan to make public colleges and universities free would be beneficial for all.

“Anybody here got debt? Raise your hand,” Sanders told the crowd at College Green Park as the hands of many sprung into the air. “Well, you should be able to refinance and, dare I say, that would make huge reductions on your debt,” he said mocking Donald Trump.

Although some students are able to afford college more, either through lower in-state tuition or scholarships and other forms of financial aid,

Daniel Calderon, University of Iowa student, is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. during a Hillary Clinton campaign rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Daniel Calderon, University of Iowa student, is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. during a Hillary Clinton campaign rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

University of Iowa student Daniel Calderon said he would like to see free public college, though he has his tuition paid for.

“I know some are less fortunate than I am,” he said.

Maddie Kaiser, an out-of-state UI student, said she always votes Democrat, but she still wanted to hear Sanders discuss Clinton’s plans to make public college free at the rally.

“Unfortunately, taxation will have to go up,” she said. “But who doesn’t want free education?”

Jenny Verniero, a Bernie Sanders activist and Ph.D student at the University of Iowa, told people at the rally about her educational experience, including interning at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) over the summers. She said no matter how hard she worked, these opportunities would not have been possible without the financial support of her parents- a support that not all students have.

“For me this is not a political issue. Education and freedom go hand in hand. If you are in debt you are less free,” Verniero said with a shaky voice and teary-eyed.

Maddie Kaiser, University of Iowa student, is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. during a Hillary Clinton campaign rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Maddie Kaiser, University of Iowa student, is seen in College Green park in Iowa City on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. during a Hillary Clinton campaign rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Under a Clinton presidency, families with income up to $125, 000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities by 2021. Every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition from the beginning.

Alexa Den Herder, a member of the University of Iowa College Republicans, said she is against Hillary Clinton’s free college plan because it would increase taxes and drive up tuition rates by artificially inflating demand.

“Instead of incentivizing colleges to reduce tuition rates by cutting their unnecessary costs, or incentivizing more innovative, cost-effective alternatives to traditional higher education, government subsidies put an expensive band-aid on the problem of rising tuition rates and student debt, and future generations are going to have to pay for it,” Herder said. 

As Nov. 8 approaches, the margin in Iowa between Clinton and Donald Trump is one of the slimmest in the country.

Real Clear Politics took the averages of Emerson, Quinnipiac, and Des Moines Register polls conducted between Oct. 3 and Nov. 3 and concluded that Trump has a 2.7 lead in Iowa.

Sanders said Iowa can make a real difference in such a close election.

Bernie Sanders activist and Ph.D student at the University of Iowa, Jenny VernieroJenny Verniero, a Bernie Sanders activist and Ph.D student at the University of Iowa, speaking to the crowd at the Hillary Clinton rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Bernie Sanders activist and Ph.D student at the University of Iowa speaking to the crowd at the Hillary Clinton rally. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

“Iowa is a battleground state. Your job and my job is to make sure she [Clinton] wins by a few percentage points,” Sanders said.

According to a press release from Hillary Clinton Iowa State Director, Kane Miller, in October alone Iowa Democratic staff and volunteers knocked on the doors of nearly 390,000 Iowans.

Between today and tomorrow former Democratic presidential nominee Sanders will also make stops in Davenport, Cedar Falls, and Ames.

Alexandria Yakes, a University of Iowa Democrats campus organizer, said after the rally there would be a march to the Iowa City Public Library where people could vote.

“This is not just about stopping Donald Trump,” Yakes said. “But also about electing the most qualified candidate to lead this country.”

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