SC State Hosts Kamala Harris Town Hall Meeting

Monday, April 22, 2019

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Sen. Kamala Harris held a Town Hall Meeting on the campus of SC State Saturday with attorney and CNN political commentator, Bakari Sellers, serving as the moderator. Harris spoke before an attentive crowd about topics ranging from student debt to technology.

Coast GuardWith a backdrop of SC State students, she spoke to an audience eager to learn about her plans for the nation’s future. She tackled questions from the audience about various local, state and national issues.

“South Carolina graduates leave college with an average of $26,000 in student loan debt. The state is in the top 10 percent of the heaviest levels of student loan debt in our country, and we need to address it,” said Harris.

“We need to have free community college, allow students to refinance student loan debt, change the method of calculating payment so that it is income-based and go after predators who are taking advantage of students and preying on our young people,” she said.

She highlighted the experience of attending an HBCU, calling it a “very special experience where you don’t have to fit into anyone’s narrow definition of what it means to be a young black person in America.”

Additionally, she talked about the impact HBCUs have on society, stating that in almost every profession, they produce the largest number of African American professionals. She also emphasized that HBCUs play a key role in producing African American educators, who greatly increase the odds of black children attending college.

“I strongly believe you can judge a society based on how it treats its children. One of the greatest expressions of love that a society can make toward its children is to invest in their education and the teachers providing their education,” said Harris.

She noted that students who attend HBCUs stand on the shoulders of great people.

Harris answered questions about having reasonable gun safety laws, including universal background checks and the renewal of the assault weapons ban.

“We’re not waiting for good ideas because we have those. We’re not waiting for tragedies. We are waiting for the people who have the courage to act. That’s why elections matter,” she said.

One audience member asked Harris about her views on technology and data protection. Harris said there is currently not much regulation on how consumers’ data is collected and that companies should receive consumers’ permission to release their sensitive information.

Sellers, whose roots are planted in South Carolina and SC State, said he is supporting Harris because she is “the only one fighting for freedom in this country.”

“We need to stand up for a freedom fighter. It is not about what this country is or was. It’s about what it can be,” he said.

In 2017, Harris was sworn in as a U.S. senator for California, the second African American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. She serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Committee on the Budget.

She earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings.