Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Baldwin appeals to students

To the students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

My ties to UW run strong and deep. I was born and raised in Madison. My maternal grandparents, who helped raise me, were both on staff at UW. I received my law degree from UW, and began campaigning for my seat on the Dane County Board while in my first semester of law school, in 1986. My district on the Dane County Board encompassed part of the UW campus. In 1992, I was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly. For my entire six years in the Assembly, I was the representative for UW. UW student issues were my issues, and I assure you they remain so today.

So many students I talk to are worried about how they are going to pay for their college education. I understand their concerns.

Twenty-five years ago, the Pell Grant, which was designed to be the major part of student financial aid, covered more than 80 percent of the average cost of attending a public four-year college. Today, the maximum Pell Grant award covers only about 39 percent of the average cost of attending a four-year public college.

Federal student aid, which 20 years ago was a grant-based system, is now primarily a loan-based system. The result is that students are finishing college and graduate school with debts around $30,000. This is unacceptable. Not only does it leave students marred in debt when they are just beginning their careers, but it also can alter what careers those graduating choose to enter.


For example, we currently have a teacher and nursing shortage. Students who would like to go into those professions may choose not to, because they simply don’t pay enough if one is strapped with significant student-loan debt.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, I sponsored an amendment to raise the maximum amount of a Pell Grant award. Unfortunately, my proposal was rejected on a party-line vote.

I am also a lead co-sponsor of the 21st Century Higher Education Act. This bill would restore the purchasing power of the Pell Grant by increasing its maximum to $7,000.

It would also increase the Supplemental Equal Opportunity Grants by over $300 million. As you know, this program provides assistance to low-income students whose need is not fully met by Pell Grants.

Finally, the bill increases the federal Work-Study funding by over $300 million to assist students who wish to work to supplement their income while attending college.

I hear from many on campus about their concern that a woman’s right to choose is under attack. Reproductive rights can be a difficult and divisive issue, but one on which I have a firm position. I am firmly pro-choice and support the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to choose.

The decision to have an abortion should be a decision between a woman, her family and her doctor, based on her own health, her personal beliefs and her faith. I fought to protect a woman’s right to choose when I served in the Wisconsin State Assembly. I have continued this fight at the federal level. Access to family-planning services and contraception must not become illegal again in our country.

Finally, another issue that students talk to me about is protecting the environment. In just a short few years, today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders. I have always believed that if we don’t have clean air and clean water, then all the other issues before us are irrelevant.

Despite the legislative achievements to date, more remains to be done to assure safer drinking water and cleaner air, more protection for national forests and wetlands, and increased investment in renewable energy sources.

I have been vigilant in defending the environmental protections that have been established, but we have farther to go. I oppose drilling in the Great Lakes and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I am honored to have been named an “Environmental Champion” by the League of Conservation Voters. You can be assured I will continue to fight to protect and preserve our natural resources if re-elected.

This Tuesday, you will have a clear choice between me and my opponent. I am pro-choice; my opponent wants to end a woman’s right to choose. I support higher funding for the Pell Grant and other student aid grant programs; my opponent doesn’t want to spend any more federal dollars on student aid and believes it is acceptable to leave college heavily in debt.

And finally, I will continue to fight to have a clean environment for the generations to come; my opponent believes we should weaken environmental protections.
It has been an honor and a privilege to represent you in Washington the past four years. In 1998, students at UW provided the votes that made me the first woman elected to Congress from Wisconsin.

Students waited in long lines for hours to vote, and national publications wrote about the “youthquake” that happened at UW which put me into office. I have never and will never forget that. I rode on your shoulders to victory in 1998 and 2000, and I ask for your support again this Tuesday.

Tammy Baldwin is Wisconsin’s 2nd district congresswoman running for reelection.

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