This week, I had the privilege of attending President Obama’s State of the Union speech as a guest of the First Lady and Dr. Biden. I was humbled by the invitation and inspired as the President spoke about his blueprint for building an economy based on American manufacturing and American energy production – something I have been focused on as mayor of San Antonio.
Equally important was the President’s call for renewing the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement – the American dream. I believe that is truly the defining issue before us -- we can let partisan politics continue to dominate the agenda while more people struggle to achieve that dream, or we can get to work building a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
Ensuring that everyone gets a fair shot is exactly why I and my administration have been focused on making higher education a possibility for every child in San Antonio. That's why we created Cafe College in San Antonio. The one-stop financial aid and test preparation center is open to any student from any school district in our city and is aimed at filling the void in our public schools where the student to counselor ratio is more than 400-to-1.
As the President said Tuesday night, we first have to make sure that students stay in school and graduate, but then we have to tackle the challenge that too many students in our community find nearly impossible to overcome – the rising cost of a college education.
The President took a big step towards helping students in San Antonio and across the country when he called on Congress to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July and to extend the tuition tax credit that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars. And his plan to give more students the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs will make it possible for thousands more to go to college.
I support the President in his effort to break down the economic barriers that keep our children from going to college and achieving their dreams. And I also stand with the President in supporting the DREAM Act, a bipartisan plan that would let thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country -- many of whom were brought here as small children and through no fault of their own -- give back to the only home they’ve ever known by serving in the military or going to college in order to earn the opportunity for a path to citizenship. Some have called this a “handout,” but no one could rightly characterize a requirement to serve in the military or work toward a college degree as a free pass.
For the sake of our children and our future we have to work together to reclaim not our Democratic or Republican values, but our shared American values.
Join me in adding your name to let the President know you stand with him for an America built to last, one where all Americans get a fair shake and do their fair share.