Fierce Advocate for Educational Opportunity
In the halls of Congress and throughout his career, Congressman Garamendi has been a fierce advocate for students and teachers, believing that America's prosperity depends on a well-educated workforce.
Garamendi has consistently spoken out against destructive cuts to all levels of education. Garamendi understands that laying off teachers means less individual attention to students, larger class sizes, more students dropping out of school, and ultimately a less competitive workforce.
Garamendi, a University of California graduate, understands that California's history of achievement in the 20th century rested on developing the best public college system in the world. World-class universities like the University of California - Davis brought many of the best professors in the world to educate many of the greatest minds. Affordable and effective community colleges like SCC (Solano Community College), Woodland Community College, and Yuba College helped place millions of Californians in rewarding careers and often provided a path to a UC or CSU education.
As the only recent University of California Regent and California State University Trustee to vote against every undergraduate tuition hike during his tenure, Garamendi has stridently warned state leaders that California's future prosperity rests on a broadly educated California. Pricing students out of an education can only create a less prosperous, more unequal California for our grandchildren.
Garamendi has been horrified at reckless higher education cuts on both the state and federal level and will never waver from fighting for higher education.
During the August 2010 recess, Garamendi rushed back to Washington to vote for the Education Jobs and Medicaid Act, which kept well over 100,000 teachers across America in the classroom, including 16,500 California teachers.
Earlier in the year, Garamendi's leadership on the Science and Technology Committee helped the COMPETES Act clear the House floor. COMPETES included a robust investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and funds billions in research at our universities and labs. It failed in the Senate, but Garamendi continues to look for ways to incorporate elements of COMPETES in other legislation.
Garamendi also fought for groundbreaking student loan legislation that is now law. The legislation eliminates wasteful 'middlemen' in the student loan process, helping students secure loans easier and at a lower cost. In addition, for loans signed after July 1, 2014, payments will be capped at 10 percent of a student’s income (it’s currently 15 percent) and debt remaining after 20 years will be forgiven.
On multiple occasions, Garamendi has stood strong for Pell Grants and for lower interest rates in the subsidized Stafford Student Loan program. These are the two principle forms of student aid on the federal level, and efforts to cut them are reckless and counterproductive.
Garamendi, a former University of California Regent and California State University Trustee, will continue fighting for our schools, because ultimately, he thinks there is no more important investment we can make.