Why students should support Bernie Sanders

(First-person accounts of campaign events are always welcome as guest posts. You can advocate for the candidate of your choice, or, if you're undecided, describe the atmosphere and high or low points. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

My name is Jane Kersch, a senior at Iowa State University, majoring in political science and environmental sustainability. I come from a middle class background, raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to put my brother and I through private school. I have seen first hand what it has been like for my mother to support her children, struggling to pay for school and healthcare.  

My first real introduction to Senator Bernie Sanders came in 2014 when I began working with an organization called the United States Student Association. USSA is a grassroots organization that works to mobilize student power to win legislative victories on student issues. Sen. Sanders has been a longtime ally of USSA by prioritizing student issues during his tenure in Congress. Sen. Sanders has worked with students to make student debt and college affordability a main topic in the 2016 campaign cycle. Just this month, Sen. Sanders introduced a Robin Hood tax bill, called the College for All Act, which would tax Wall Street in order to make undergraduate tuition at public universities free.

The student debt crisis is an issue that is very important to me and my fellow students. I attend a state university, but tuition here is still unaffordable for most students. I maintain good grades that allow me to receive many scholarships and grants, including the federal Pell Grant, and have a job, but that is still not enough to cover my tuition and other living expenses. By the time I graduate next year, I will have incurred about $15,000 dollars in debt. And I consider myself lucky, seeing as the average Iowa student graduates with $29,000 in debt. Here in Iowa we have the sixth-highest level of student debt in the country.

It is crucial to me and other student that this crisis remains a key component of the 2016 cycle. Sen. Sanders has worked hard to make college affordable, which is why he continues to gain grassroots support of students across the country. I had the honor of sharing the stage with him back in December at a townhall in Ames to talk about student debt, before he had officially announced his candidacy. It means a lot to me that he is involving students in his campaign like this, allowing us to share our stories and personal experiences on key issues.

Thursday night’s Iowa campaign kick off event in Davenport was my fourth time hearing him speak, and it once again reaffirmed my belief that he is the right person for the Democratic nomination. I brought my mother to the event with me, because I wanted her to see firsthand why I’m so supportive of Sen. Sanders. To be in a room with approximately 700 other Bernie enthusiasts this early in the campaign was so inspiring. As someone who worked hard on President Obama’s reelection campaign, to hear the Senator speak of a grassroots movement even bigger than Organizing for America, I couldn’t help but smile. Being in that space I felt a revival of issue based, democratic grassroots organizing that I always feel in the presence of like minded activists.

Bernie Sanders is like no other politician out there today. He is truly a man of the people, and his passion for the issues is so obvious in the way he speaks and interacts with people. As a student, his agenda is one that resonates with me. Making college free, addressing climate change, reducing income inequality, raising the minimum wage, and providing universal healthcare are issues important to my generation. Now is the time for the political revolution that poor and working class people so desperately need, which is why I am happy to support Sen. Sanders to make that happen.  

  • wait.

    As I can agree that college can be unaffordable, if you are in degrees with zero employment opportunity, no one told you that you had to go to college, along with those who have incurred such costs. Same as its not the banks fault for handing out loans people can’t afford. It is up yo you to be personally responsible.

    While it would be nice for life to be free, grow up. That’s not how anything works, anywhere. You need to take economics again. From someone who doesn’t have a teaching degree in economics, but someone actually successful.

    If you truly want to address the issue, not put a bandaid on it, we need to let kids know you don’t need to go to college. Life won’t be fair. And maybe, just maybe, instead of having politics in academia, we put people who have succeeded in those positions. After all, would you have a homeless man teach you microeconomics?

    Let’s look back, college kids voted in waves for Obama, how has this country prospered? Now you want college kids to vote again in waves. Most college kids know nothing but how to study for a single test, which is also part of the problem, and don’t truly have any knowledge of ho life works.

    Old saying goes, world proof your child, don’t childproof the world.

    This is coming from a guy with zero college, who owns and grew a business, who has a wife who HAD 75k+ in college loans. That piece of paper you’ll get may look nice and all, but learning is free, most companies pay you to do it, its called employment.

    I came from the working class, and am working out of it to make a better life. I suggest you do the same once you have a few years away from mommy to discover life.

    • Graceless response!

      You seem to be in a condescending mood.  I suppose having to pay off $75,000 in student debt does that to you.

      I got through the U of Iowa with nearly no debt back in the day when people thought it was good to pay taxes for that sort of thing, keeping tuition low.  Nowadays we are more likely to hear from the less generous side of our society.

      Besides that, you are wrong about not needing to go to college.  No doctors or nurses or lawyers or teachers or accountants get started without advanced schooling.  Should we allow all those professions to be occupied only by rich kids, or do you want an economy where the talent can shine through?  

      Our student debt is so high now it is holding back the economy.  Bernie’s plan might even be good for your business, what ever it is.  I support him, too.

    • Gimminy

      You appear to literally go out of your way to pretend being an A-hole.

      I can’t imagine that you really are that way.

      • Wrong place

        Sorry iowavoter, that was meant for the harsh guy.


        • I

          I don’t pretend to be an ahole. I just don’t like to be burdened and forced through taxes to pay for your free dreams.

          Why tax those who are more successful than others? Why make success a devilish prize?

  • Once

    You seem to not understand my words. I said we need to tell kids they don’t need to go to college, the comprehension of it is not every Joe blow needs to attend college to get a 4 year degree. Some people need to understand that its okay to instead go into the trades, or work at restaurants or similar jobs and work their way up. College isn’t necessarily for everyone. The ones with drive and a knack for xyz or that shine through should push on.

    Regarding your blown out of context with doctors and lawyers…. Obviously they should obtain extra levels if education. Maybe the real reform should start with the last two years of high school and the first two of college. That set of years is best describe as shift work, production line learning. While you a sharpening an arrow, you are adding no discernible skill or knowledge.

    That would in essence provide two key factors. One, put a kid straight into their study with out wasting time, fluff and money on their part, and two lower the overall cost once they leave. And a third possible factor is you get rid of the entitled people who went to college, even though it wasn’t for them, to come out thinking they deserve something more because of it.

    I’ll dumb it down.

    Not every kid needs to go to college, because not every kid is going to be that special child mommy said they were. So stop telling kids in 3rd grade they need to go to be something.

    Hard work and knowledge will always trump entitled and the self deserving

    And to a previous point. The piece of paper only says you paid to learn. Learning is mostly free.

    Out economy is held back because of regulations not allow the growth we are striving for. A newly graduated ‘student’ who literally has no value that he has added (in GDP and fiscal sense, except for the tuition he paid) to the economy, will not boost the economy as much as 1000 or 10000 or 100000 business will add if they can beat regulations.

    I’ll dumb that down. A worker does not provide to the economy what a company can in terms of economic growth. Because without the company, there is no worker. This is not a question of chicken vs egg. If you think it is, you do not know economics or business.

    And yes, there’s nothing like paying for a ring, a wedding, and a gift of 75k. But I didn’t beg the govt to lower the cost of diamonds, weddings or education. I dealt with it, and because of our combined efforts, we are farther ahead than most our age, and years older as well.

  • Just want to stir the money pot..

    Self-made billionaires made up the largest number of people on the list with 1,191 positions (over 65%) while just 230 (under 13%) have wealth through inheritance. The number of billionaires who inherited a portion but are still working to increase their fortunes is 405. (Kerry A. Dolan (March 2, 2015). “The World’s Billionaires”. Forbes.com. Retrieved March 2, 2015.)

    Do you support taxing the working man? Or the 13%? Why not be fair and tax EVERYONE a flat, same %, fair tax?


    We should make college free, address climate change, reduce income inequality, raise the minimum wage, and providing universal healthcare.

    Dumbed down, we need “smart people”, they make our lives better.

    I for one am tired of being talked down to by conservative intellectual elite spouting self professed expertise based on phony or just plain false information.

    The question is what kind of society do we want .

    If you don’t like what we have, Bernie Sanders  is a great option.

    Vote you dreams, not your fears.

  • If

    If you depend on someone else to make your life better, you don’t have a clue.

    Let’s suppose college is made free, and then you get your global warming regulations, err global cooling like the 70s, crap, I mean climate change, what earth has continuously gone through, then let’s say you get healthcare for free, what do you want free next? A 400-900k house? Lambos for everyone? Where do you stop?

    For the record, Bernie says nothing happens unless billions of people make it happen. How many people live in the us? Legally that is…

    Bernie won’t make my business more profitable, it’ll make me pay more in taxes for your free benefits, thus making me hire less people. Thus lest jobs. I’m not the only business owner who thinks that.

    • about your taxes . . .

      So you hire people with after-tax money?  I’d say you are doing it wrong.

      When I hire someone I deduct their pay from my revenue.  That gives me less taxable income and less taxes to pay.

      If taxes were higher, I’d have even more incentive to hire people, deduct their pay, and save on taxes as a result of the deal.

      Thus a high income tax is a job creator.  Imagine that!

    • At 18:09:58

      you wrote, “I don’t pretend to be an ahole.”

      After reading this post with the attempt at climate change sarcasm I will take your 18:09:58 words at face value. You’ve convinced me; I was incorrect above.

      • Reading comprehension


        You are reading in way beyond what folks gave written.

        I am not depending on someone else to make my life better or expecting someone else to.

        My life is good and I have no needs.

        However, I also realize that this society could be better if basic human needs could be met.

        To me it really is a question of ” we the people”, not “me the people”.

        Do we really value human life?

        Shouldn’t we then strive to enhance everyone’s life at every stage?

        I say yes.

Login or Join to comment and post.