Rep. Ron Klink, the Democratic Senatorial candidate from Pittsburgh, is a relatively unknown face in eastern Pennsylvania.
Running in the shadow of well-known Republican Rick Santorum, an incumbent, has not helped, but the strength driving the campaign of Klink can be found in his tenacity when it comes to fighting for students and education. Having vigorously fought for these rights since 1993, it appears that there is no let up any time soon for this candidate if elected.
“I voted in 1993 for the budget agreement that helped pave toward our unprecedented economic prosperity,” Klink said. That passing budget agreement helped “benefit the younger generation and it has led to improved job opportunities for college graduates,” Klink said.
Klink backs increased funding for Federal Pell Grants.
“I voted for increased funding for Pell Grants to make college more affordable for students and families,” Klink said.
Sen. Santorum and other Republicans opposes Pell Grants and have made great attempts to decrease them and federal student aid.
Quoting Sen. Russ Feingold at a recent rally in John F. Kennedy Park, Klink told the crowd, “We’ve got a lot of senators who oppose Pell Grants, but I’ve never seen anybody who enjoys it more than Santorum.”
When it comes to education, Santorum appears more concerned with elementary and secondary schooling than with college. The senator, who could not be reached for comment, supports parents’ involvement in local school systems to choose the school best suited for their children’s needs.
Klink counters: “As U.S. citizens, we should be proud to have such a successful universal, free education system in our country.”
Santorum supports the Affordable Education Act and its amendments, which would provide incentives to individuals and businesses for donations of computers and related services to schools. This act also would allow teachers to deduct the costs of school supplies and related expenses from their taxes and would create A+ Accounts that would put more money into the hands of parents so that they could decide how best to develop their children’s education.
On the opposition, Klink supports putting 100,000 more teachers in schools to reduce classroom sizes. Klink has voted to increase funding for education in low-income communities and has voted for class-size reductions, improvement of school quality and school construction and repairs.
“We may be blue collar, but we have a dream . . . we want our kids to be able to go to college,” Klink said during the rally.
“I have vigorously opposed and will continue to fight against Republican attempts to cut funding and programs that were specifically established to make higher education possible for every person regardless of his or her socioeconomic background.”
Klink has stood against Republican attempts to abolish the Direct Student Loan program entirely.
“My opponent took advantage of those opportunities and now he wants to take the ladder out from under students and families,” Klink said.
Klink has the endorsement of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who spoke at the rally. “This is the record of a Congressman, who is out for you,” Kennedy said. “Klink can do what it takes for education.”
As students, the significance of financial aid plays greatly in our ability to attend college. Financial aid is the reason that some students are able to go to college.
“You can count on me as your next U.S. Senator to fight for students and education,” Klink said.
With the winner being decided on Tuesday, students will find out what direction financial aid and education will take.