Monday, February 11, 2008

Bachmann continues assault on working families

Bachmann Continues Assault on Working Families
Olson: Congresswoman' s Hostility Toward College Students 'Inexcusable'

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Truscott

ANOKA—Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, said Michele Bachmann's vote last week against the College Opportunity and Affordability Act fits in with a "consistent and appalling" pattern of ignoring the plight of working families.

"It's nothing new," Olson said. "When given the opportunity to stand up for working families, Michele Bachmann has said 'no thanks' each and every time."

Among other things, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act would:

-Provide for renewed accountability in student loan programs;
-Simplify the financial aid application process;
-Increase college aid and support to veterans and military families; and
-Provide equal opportunities to students with disabilities.

Bachmann was one of just 58 representatives to vote against the College Opportunity and Affordability Act. Last fall she was one of only 97 to vote against the College Cost Reduction Act.

The Star Tribune reported on Saturday that in-state tuition alone at the University of Minnesota is expected to exceed $10,000 a year in the fall.

Hal Kimball, a Cokato resident and former chair of the Minnesota State Student Association, attended St. Cloud State University, where the cost of tuition, room/board and books topped $12,600 this year.

"College costs are soaring and stretching the budgets of students and their families to the breaking point," he said. "The only thing that isn't increasing is Michele Bachmann's willingness to show some compassion—to work for her constituents. "

Olson shares those concerns.

"The congresswoman and I have something in common: we both came from modest backgrounds and had to work very hard to get where we are today," Olson said. "The difference between us is that I want to make sure the next generation has the same opportunities we did. Judging by her voting record, I don't think Mrs. Bachmann shares my concerns at all. It's really inexcusable. "

Noting the recent reports of local economic woes—including layoffs at St. Cloud-area businesses Electrolux and Stearns, Inc., and the increase in requests for help at the Stillwater Salvation Army—Olson said higher education and job re-training are especially important.

"This is a real bad time for the congresswoman to put up roadblocks to higher education," Olson said. "With the economy in the shape that it is, we're not just worried about students coming right out of high school, but also adults going back to college to gain more skills so they can compete in a tough economy."

Minnesota lost 2,300 jobs last month and 23,000 in the last six months of 2007, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

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