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If banana bread was the barometer for picking the next president, Chelsea Clinton said she would have talked about how her mom is the most qualified baker running for the country’s highest office.
But no one in a standing-room only crowd of students and community members at the UMC asked the former first daughter about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s culinary skills during a surprise, last-minute question-and-answer session Thursday morning. Instead, Chelsea Clinton addressed her mother’s plans to make college more affordable, address comprehensive immigration reform and to aggressively invest in alternative energy should the New York senator be elected the next president.
“My mother is unique among the candidates as the only one who can show how she will pay for the programs she wants to pursue,” Clinton said. “My mother is the only one whose plans are visionary and practical and won’t saddle us with debt.”
Sen. Clinton recently introduced her students’ bill of rights, Clinton said, which would “reinvent college affordability and liberate more resources for state institutions.”
The plan would double the maximum amount of Pell grants a student could receive, which is currently $5,400, expand the Hope education tax credit eligibility and expand the amount of money students can receive while participating in Americorps, which is a service-learning program former President Bill Clinton started.
“To have people serve their country when they get out of school, it’s paid in kind,”said Clinton, adding that her mother wants to do away with the FAFSA financial aid form completely. “You should be able to check a box on your tax forms and have the IRS send you the aid you qualify for.”
Clinton said her mother supports allowing the children of illegal immigrants to attend public universities without sanction for their parents’ residency status. Sen. Clinton addresses the need for immigration reform and increased border security, her daughter said, with her plan to allow illegal immigrants who have been working in this country to apply for citizenship after having paid back any back taxes and deporting criminals in the country illegally.
“My mom supports coming out of the shadows,” Clinton said. “What would it mean to the history of law and the history of a country founded by immigrants if we forced illegal immigrants to go home? But what would it mean practically? We would spend tens of billions walking into every dorm room, apartment and farm to deport them.”
Forced deportation of illegal immigrants would also force the U.S. economy further down the slope it has been headed, Clinton said, and the country can’t assert its world status if it can’t stand up to its creditors such as China.
The next president needs to move back to multilateralism, Clinton said, particularly in establishing a world-wide partnership to combat global warming.
Large buildings outpace cars for their greenhouse gas emissions, Clinton said, and her mother wants to “green” every government building as well as establish tax incentives for businesses and families to do the same. Tax incentives for the country’s lagging auto industry would also encourage cities such as Detroit to reestablish themselves as global innovators in next-generation car development and indirectly aid efforts to cut industrial pollution.
Clinton concluded the 45-minute session by taking pictures with audience members and discussing her mother’s policy issues with those who weren’t able to ask their questions during the forum.
“Kids of political candidates campaign all the time for their parents, but I’ve never heard a child speak so eloquently or convincingly on behalf of their mother or father,” said Emily Lozou, a 19-year-old freshman communication and humanities double major who is campus coordinator for the Hillary Clinton campaign. “Clearly Chelsea has inherited her mother’s inspirational nature.”
Josie Heath, a volunteer with the Boulder Democrats, said Clinton’s enthusiasm was reflective of the historical significance of this year’s election.
“It’s hard for me not to get emotional about this election,” Heath said. “We have the chance to make history and elect our first woman president. Why have we waited so long?”
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