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By Amanda Litvinov
In his bid to become the next governor of Virginia, Republican Ed Gillespie is attempting to connect with voters by saying, “special interests have too much sway” in the state capitol.
What Gillespie doesn’t mention is the fact that he made millions as a corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C., representing industries that routinely put profits over people, including the student loan industry.
His firm, Quinn, Gillespie & Associates, lobbied members of Congress on behalf of the student loan industry as it frantically fought efforts in 2007 in the House and Senate to lower student loan interest rates and encourage students to apply for federal loans before turning to private lenders.
Lobbying disclosure forms show that Ed Gillespie was a registered lobbyist for the student loan administration company Nelnet and for Bank of America. His firm contacted members of the House and Senate as well as the Executive Office of the President on issues related to “student loans/budget.”
Reductions in loan interest rates help students, but cut into lenders’ profits.
The role Gillespie played in helping the student loan industry put profits before students is just one of the things that should concern Virginia voters.
As we have previously covered on EdVotes, Gillespie accepted a major campaign contribution—over $100,000—from the DeVos family. His K-12 education plan revolves around vastly expanding private school vouchers, which drain scarce funding for public schools. It is the very agenda that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump are pushing at the federal level.
Ralph Northam opposes vouchers.
Northam’s higher education plan, released last week, commits to increasing state support for public universities and colleges to control tuition costs. He would also establish a Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights that would increase oversight of lenders, and increase transparency for students and their families.
“Every Virginian deserves access to a high quality, affordable education after high school, so he or she can succeed in the New Virginia Economy,” said Northam in a statement.
“If I am able to leave one legacy as governor, I want it to be expanding access to quality public education. Every young person in Virginia should have a shot at a promising future, and I won’t stop working until we ensure they get it.”