Gabrieli best choice for students

Though it is nestled comfortably between the Fenway and Roxbury, Northeastern is home to students from California, the Midwest and abroad. With so many students from outside Massachusetts and the Democratic primary election around the corner, it’s important to ask what the Democratic candidates have to offer Northeastern students.

As always, questions our parents would probably be more concerned with such as jobs and health care dominate the issues between the three candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

But right alongside those issues, the candidates are talking about education, and more specifically, higher education. It may seem odd for politicians double our age to attempt to reach out to students, especially considering that a huge number of college students either don’t vote in Massachusetts, or simply don’t vote at all.

The candidates know this, but they also know students make up a huge portion of the population in this city, and this state. If we come to vote in droves, it might make the difference to get them the nomination.

So if they’re willing to engage us, we might as well listen. We might even gain something from it.

Of the three candidates – current Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, businessman Christopher Gabrieli and former Clinton cabinet member Deval Patrick, Gabrieli stands out because of his passion for education, both elementary and secondary, his involvement in business and his potential to improve the economy.

Gabrieli’s involvement in education sets him apart from his fellow candidates. He is well-known for pushing after-school programs, notably as chairman of Mayor Thomas Menino’s Taskforce on After-School Time, in which more than $30 million has been raised to support after-school activities.

Gabrieli’s plans for higher education are also one of a kind.

His plan cuts down the time required to earn a degree for students, thereby lowering the cost of tuition and making college more affordable for in-state schools. He also calls for the improvement of varying ethnicities and incomes in higher education.

A major proponent of stem cell research, Gabrieli would bring innovative jobs to the Bay State for graduating seniors. His economic plan calls for a $1 billion investment in emerging technologies. He is also in favor of lowering the income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent, a benefit for the co-op student who lives paycheck to paycheck.

Deval Patrick’s plan for education is to expand Massachusetts public higher education through a bond program. Patrick is against lowering the income tax, and Patrick is the only candidate to endorse the idea of allowing local areas, such as Boston, to create local-area-only taxes. Could you imagine a meal tax in the city of Boston? Deval Patrick could allow it.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly calls for an income tax reduction and scholarships for higher education, but appears lost in the political realm. Although he is a 45-year veteran of government, Reilly lacks the political suave of Gabrieli, and is hard-pressed to say anything that hasn’t been screen-tested in front of a cross-section of his consituency demographic, or whatever phraseology the advertising gurus use.

No matter who you’re pulling for, we urge all students to get out and vote. But the bottom line is that Gabrieli will support the students, give us a reason to stick around the Bay State and has the best chance of winning the general election.

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