According to Graves, the hotel executive running for the 6th District Congressional seat against Michele Bachmann,* his call to public office is in direct response to TV anchor Chris Matthews’ rhetorical question, “Where are all the good people? Why don’t they run for office?”
He laid out his plans for the state and country to students and staff at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud recently and stressed two basic lessons he taught his own children: “Work hard–there is no free lunch. And follow your bliss. That’s success. That’s what makes us happy.”
The biggest problem in the nation, as he sees it, is that we have become so divided. But he does believe there are answers.
Strengthening the economy through jobs is one answer. Educating and training more people for those jobs is another answer. Creating a strong middle class is one more answer.
Graves admitted, “I’m in the 1% percent everyone is talking about. But I don’t need the tax breaks. I have all the suits I want. But that mom—or dad—with two kids,” he argued, “they could use that money. And they would spend it . . . and that helps the economy.”
Graves had a special message for students, telling them that government only exists “to do what you and I can’t do for ourselves . . . make highways, keep our borders safe . . . provide education.” Graves is in favor of federal student loan programs and believes that student loan interest rates should be locked in for the term of the student’s education.
Graves also urged students to vote. “Do your homework,” he urged them. “It’s what democracy is all about.”
Students had the opportunity to question Graves on his views, and much of the discussion centered on veterans.
Graves acknowledged, “There is no question, we are short-changing our veterans.” He agreed streamlining services has to happen, but said that foremost, “we need to get veterans working and employed.” We have to provide vets opportunity, he insisted.
Another concern raised was homelessness.
“Education,” Graves replied immediately, “is the future of the country . . . in order to compete globally and locally.”
Reminding students again that an informed electorate is the answer to making change happen, he urged them to vote in the upcoming election.
The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Jim Graves and Michele Bachmann public debate at the Rvier’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud on October 30, 2012 from 12 – 1:30 p.m.
*Note: Both candidates for the 6th District Congressional seat were invited to campus in an effort to encourage student awareness of–and participation in–the upcoming election. Congresswoman Bachmann was unable to attend.