Hatch visits Iowa State


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Democratic governor candidate Jack Hatch speaks to the Iowa State Democrats on Feb. 5 in Pearson Hall. Hatch, the leading Democratic candidate, has already helped with health care and plans to do the same with economic development and education as governor.

Lissandra Villa

Getting students to a bachelor’s degree faster than four years and low-interest state loans for students would be the best ways to make education more affordable for students, said Jack Hatch, one of Iowa’s candidates for governor.

Hatch visited Iowa State the evening of Feb. 5 to speak to approximately 15 of the Iowa State Democrats.

“I know the biggest issue for you is college debt,” Hatch said to the students.

The first of his proposals to reduce college debt would aim to reduce the length of time students spend in college, which would in turn lower the total amount of money a student spends on college.

“We’re allowing any Iowa student in any university or college in the state to take any class at any other school in Iowa,” Hatch said.

The availability of courses for Iowa students whenever and wherever they need them would be the key in the proposal to getting students to graduate faster. Schools could potentially lose revenue from this, but they would adjust, Hatch said.

The second of the proposals would be a state program that would make borrowing money less expensive for college students. This program would lend 5,000 Iowa students up to $3,000 a year at a 1 percent interest rate.

A second tuition freeze for in-state students looks likely to pass for the 2014-2015 academic year, but Hatch told the Daily other issues need to be addressed before a third tuition freeze is considered.

“I don’t think there will be a third freeze until and unless we really start taking a look at the cost of college itself,” Hatch said. “But there may be proposals that can extend the tuition guaranteed for what you pay when you first get into college. That’s a proposal that we’re kicking around.”

Hatch said in order for that sort of opportunity to be actualized, the public would have to make clear to legislators that the cost of higher education is a disincentive to pursue a degree.

Hatch currently serves as a chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee in the Iowa Senate.

If elected, Hatch would replace Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who is seeking a sixth term and holds the record for being the longest running governor in history of the United States.

“In a race like this, I think it’s really important for the party to be united [behind one candidate],” said Jane Kersch, junior in global resource systems and treasurer for the ISU Dems. “I think it’s really important for politicians to engage with young students.”

Other Democratic candidates have dropped out of the race, including Tyler Olson and Bob Krause, which led Hatch to say that in a way he is the last guy standing. Hatch did point out, however, that Jonathan Narcisse recently joined the race.

The discussion on Feb. 5 began with a raise in minimum wage, about which Hatch said he is one of the leading proponents.

The election will be Nov. 4.