Rep. Keith Ellison

October 28, 2012

As tuition costs rise, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable?  

More Pell grants and more student aid — grants and loans. I don’t want students to have to pay back basically a new car or a new house in the form of tuition. It’s ridiculous. Students graduate with $100,000 in loans, and it’s wrong. We need to change that. We need college tuition to be affordable. We need it to be where students can work a job and work their way through school. At this point that isn’t possible.

 

What is your stance on “Obamacare”?

I’m all for it. It allows students to stay on their parents’ health care until age 26. I think it’s what we need, and it’s an important step forward.

 

What direction should America go regarding Afghanistan?

I believe we should get out. Reducing the U.S. military in Afghanistan will both save lives and let us direct our focus on our own country.

 

What role do you think the U.S. should play in foreign affairs, particularly Iran and Israel?

I think the United States needs to try to be a source of mediation in Middle Eastern conflicts. I think we should try to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. I think we should be a part of helping them put their differences behind them. When it comes to Iran, I think the United States needs to negotiate directly to Iran to make sure it stops, but at the same time I think it’s very important that we do pledge diplomacy. The last thing we need is a war in Iran. We need to have some peace, and I think negotiation and diplomacy are the right ways to go.

 

In November, Minnesotans will vote whether or not to constitutionally define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. What is your stance on gay marriage?

I am “Vote No” on the amendment. It’s an affront to equality and inclusion, and I’m “Vote No” on it, and I hope everybody does.

 

Students have cited the economy as one of their main concerns, what would you do to ensure a stable American economy as they search for jobs after school?

We need to do a lot of public investments, so that we can put Americans back to work. We also need to make sure our senior citizens don’t have to keep working just to get health care. Health care for seniors is important because so many seniors staying and working for their health care means young people don’t get a chance to come in. I think making sure everyone has health care is a good way to make sure these young people have jobs offered to them.

 

Can the U.S. achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that to happen and how long do you think it will take?

The best way to achieve energy independence is by renewing the Production Tax Credit for solar and wind, which Republicans are letting expire. I think a combination of conservation and renewable energy sources is the key. I’m definitely in support of those things.

 

What is the most important issue our country must deal with today and how do you plan to address it?

The most important issue is making sure Americans have jobs. The way I would plan to address it is by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. We just had the opening of the Lowry Avenue Bridge and at every moment we’ve had at least a hundred people working at the bridge, and all together thousands of people have worked on it. Also, with more investment in infrastructure we can put Americans back to work from engineers to architects to carpenters and everybody in between.

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