CD-3 candidate Adam Frisch opposes ‘reckless’ student loan cancellation

Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district Adam Frisch campaigned to beat incumbent Lauren Boebert (R-Silt), but the Aspen businessman agrees with his conservative opponent on at least a question.

On Monday, Frisch’s campaign released a statement opposing President Joe Biden’s recent plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for low- and middle-income Americans, a plan Boebert also publicly lambasted. .

Frisch, who was called a “conservative businessman” in the statement, said Biden’s plan is an “inappropriate use of executive action that circumvents Congress by spending hundreds of billions of dollars.” dollars”.

Frisch told the Chieftain he has long opposed widespread action on federal student debt relief and discussed his position with voters during his campaign. He released the statement to clarify his position to all voters, he said.

“I want to be very clear that I stand by what I believe in. I believe it was the wrong thing to do for the country and it was the wrong thing to do for CD-3,” he said. Frisch said.

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Boebert, whose campaign has raised more than twice as much as Frisch’s, according to the latest campaign finance reports, ridiculed the plan to forgive some student debt on Twitter and right-wing media.

“(Joe Biden) is stealing from hard-working Americans to pay for Karen’s daughter’s degree in lesbian dance theory,” Boebert said. on Fox News during the weekend.

In his statement, Frisch pointed to systemic problems with the high costs of college education.

“Rather than canceling loans to the highest earners, we need to level the playing field. In western and southern Colorado, there are hundreds of thousands of hard-working people who haven’t had the opportunity, need or desire to go to college and whose concerns are not addressed by this half-trillion-dollar band-aid,” Frisch said. .

Borrowers earning more than $125,000, or $250,000 if married, would not be eligible for loan forgiveness under the plan announced Aug. 24. federal loans.

The exact cost of the debt cancellation and the payment plan have not been announced. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania estimated that debt cancellation could cost up to $519 billion and that 75% of the benefits would go to households earning less than $88,000 a year.

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Biden has campaigned on canceling student debt and has repeatedly extended the pause on student loan payments first initiated under the Trump administration in March 2020. Under the new plan, payments will resume in January 2023.

Action on student loan relief is hugely popular among young voters – a Harvard University poll found that 85% of Americans aged 18-29 favor a debt relief initiative . Another recent NPR/Ipsos poll found that many supported Biden’s plan, but even more believed the government should work to make college more affordable.

About 45 million people hold a total of $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, according to a White House statement.

In Pueblo County, 60% of adults over the age of 25 have attended college, but only 23% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to census data.

Colorado State University Pueblo has the highest proportion of graduates with debt compared to other public universities in Colorado, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, which reported that 73% of CSU Pueblo graduates in 2020 had average debt. of $31,267.

Biden’s debt relief plan has also been criticized by some moderate Democrats and widely despised by Republicans.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who is up for re-election, said in a statement last week that “the administration should have targeted the aid more and come up with a way to pay for this plan,” but detailed the Bennet’s earlier efforts for “long-term solutions” to student loans and the education system.

Staff in Sen. John Hickenlooper’s office did not respond to a request for comment by the leader’s Monday press deadline.

At a virtual forum for the party’s leading primary candidates in June, Puebloan Sol Sandoval was the only candidate to speak about his personal experience with student debt.

Frisch told the Chieftain he graduated from the University of Colorado in 1990 and was “lucky” he didn’t need to take out a loan. He said working in high school and college helped keep him out of debt.

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Sandoval lost to Frisch in the Democratic primary by a few hundred votes.

In a statement to the leader, Sandoval – who joined Frisch’s campaign as a special adviser last month – did not directly address Frisch’s position, but said “we must, at all levels, tackle to the root cause of a totally unaffordable education system”. .”

“My parents had to work multiple jobs to provide me with a good quality education,” Sandoval wrote. “It should be accessible to everyone, regardless of the postcode they live in. We can go back and forth and we will never all agree on a specific amount, but we have to agree on the fact that education should be accessible to all Our country would only benefit from having more educators, nurses, doctors, etc.

Former Republican candidate Marina Zimmerman, who failed to qualify for the primary but is still running for CD-3 as a written independent, said on Twitter that Frisch’s statement was “complete with Republican talking points” and said debt cancellation “will be help the working class.”

Anna Lynn Winfrey covers Pueblo Chieftain politics. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @annalynnfrey.

Jack L. Goldstein