Sunday, June 30, 2013

Students are Our Future

Studies have shown that having a college education improves a person's quality of life and their employment opportunities. We believe students are our future and we strongly support education in Idaho at all levels. With more people than ever going to college, we call upon Congress to keep interest rates for student loans down for all students. 

‘Invest in students’: Bannock Democrats glean support for lower loan rates

By Michael O'Donnell
Idaho State Journal
Published: June 29, 2013 3:38 am

POCATELLO — The cost of taking out a federal loan to attend college will get more expensive beginning Monday and a group of residents, including many Bannock County Democrats, staged a protest at Oak Street and Yellowstone Avenue on Friday at noon.
The interest rate on federal subsidized Stafford loans will increase from 3.4 to 6.8 percent July 1. The rate change will impact an estimated 7 million college students in the U.S. Currently, a student who takes out a Stafford loan pays 3.4 percent interest on that loan amount beginning six months after graduation from college.
Friday's group held up signs calling for keeping the student loan interest rate at 3.4 percent and asking motorists to honk their horns if they supported education.
Attempts to keep the interest rate from doubling have become mired in a congressional battle over the budget and the federal sequester.
“We need to invest in students,” said Bannock County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Finkelnburg. “There's plenty of other places to balance the budget.”
Since Stafford loans are usually reserved for students with the least income, a doubling of the interest rate hurts students from poorer families the most, according to Finkelnburg.
“The state is pushing kids to go to college and the Congress is doubling the cost,” he said.
If a student took out the maximum $23,000 in loans over four years of college, they would currently pay about $782 in interest on that loan per year. That amount will grow to $1,564 when the Stafford loan interest rate doubles.
“We need to invest in our students because they are the future,” Finkelnburg said.
Joining the protest was Carol Bodily, a non-traditional Idaho State University student who just completed her bachelor's degree in human resources management at the age of 60.
“I'm still paying my student loans,” she said. “There is no way I could have gone to college without the loans.”
Bodily's interest rate will remain at 3.4 percent, but she said she is concerned about people who are trying to further their education from this point forward. She said families with limited incomes will suffer the most and many of their children will not go on to take college courses.
Although Idaho has a high school graduation rate of 88.4 percent, only 23.9 percent of the state's adult population has at least a bachelor's degree.
The average debt incurred by a college graduate in the U.S. in 2012 reached nearly $27,000. The average student loan debt in Idaho was $24,100 and 66 percent of all Idaho college graduates finished college with some indebtedness, according to the CNN Money website.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Noon Rally

protesters

If Idaho's Senators fail to act on a bill passed by the House, the interest rate on Stafford student loans will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent beginning July 1. This will drastically increase the cost of attending Idaho State University as well as other state colleges, job training programs and adult skills development.

"Congress should be investing in young students. They are our future. It's wrong that Congress will hide behind its own inaction and try to balance the budget by charging high school graduates much, much more for striving to better their education," said Dave Finkelnburg, chairman of the local Democrats. "The cost of college has increased over 50% just in the last 10 years. Help us tell our Senators to keep college affordable!"

According to the Center for American Progress, more than 7 million students and their families rely on federally subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for college. These loans are handled through the U.S. Department of Education and currently hold an interest rate of 3.4 percent. Unless Congress acts immediately, that rate will double, and thousands of students in Idaho will see interest rates soar to 6.8 percent on new loans taken out in the next year. This will cause a steep rise in their loan burden and effectively increase the cost of obtaining a college degree.

Doubling the cost to attend college is a moral and financial travesty that should not be allowed to happen. All area residents and students concerned by the possibility of student loans rising in July are encouraged to attend the noon rally Friday, June 28th at the corner of Oak and Yellowstone in Pocatello. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, June 25th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 2013 Political Soup

larry kenckPocatello — On Wednesday, June 12th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speaker will be new Idaho Democratic Party chairman Larry Kenck via speakerphone. Kenck is a fourth generation Post Falls, Idaho native who lives in Post Falls. He twice ran for the state senate and has served as Kootenai County Democratic Party Chair. He founded the North Idaho Democracy Dinner, which is in its 12th consecutive year. Kenck was a Business Agent with the Teamsters Union representing North Idaho and Eastern Washington and did political work and trainings for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters around the United States. He was spokesman for the Repeal Right to Work effort and worked as a member of the Idaho State AFL-CIO. He currently sits on the Idaho State Industrial Commission Advisory Board. After retiring from the Teamsters, he worked around the country as a Field Director and lobbyist with the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks both federally and in 38 states. He will tell attendees about his vision for the party for the next 17 months.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.