U.S. Senate candidate scheduled to speak

By Paul Kirk

A candidate for the U.S. Senate will visit NIU today to talk to students about the future of higher education in America.

Democratic candidate Al Hofeld will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center’s Heritage Room. Hofeld will detail his plan for educational reform which would issue student loans directly to students from the government.

“We need leaders in government whose priorities are education and training for our children. Why hasn’t education been a priority for Alan Dixon?” Hofeld said.

“People are frightened about their job security, fearful about the cost of health care and troubled by whether they can send their kids to college,” he sHaid.

The plan would require students to repay the loans after graduation through income tax withholdings, requiring a minimum monthly payment of future income.

Hofeld said he estimates the program cost at $4 billion, which he said is 1 percent of the defense budget.

“They (people) wonder why people in power seem to worry more about the ruling family of Kuwait than about the working families of Carbondale, Cairo or Chicago,” he said. “Like a lot of other people, I’m frustrated about the unwillingness of professional politicians to act.”

The loans would be eligible to all full- and part-time students who have been accepted at colleges and universities. The loans would be administered directly by the government, Hofeld’s office said. Repayment would be taken care of through income tax withholdings.

The reimbursement would be deferred for graduates that decided to study for employment in certain public services, such as teachers, or public health professionals, such as nurses.

Hofeld, 55, was born in Chicago but raised in Twin Falls, Idaho. His family later returned to live in Evanston where he attended high school. He attended college on a four-year scholarship.

After graduating, Hofeld served two years in the Army. He attended law school at the University of Chicago. Hofeld entered private law practice and later opened his own firm. He has four children and resides on the Chicago’s near north side.