BOONE, Iowa — Former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, the wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, was in Boone on Tuesday evening campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Holton discussed the topic of higher education affordability during an interview with the Iowa State Daily. Holton, who has spent a large portion of her career working with families in a multitude of aspects, said that the education system right now is "not who we are as a country."
"Where we are really is a crisis," she said. "We're at the point where — from my vantage point of secretary of education in Virginia — I was looking at research that shows that we're actually increasing the gap between the have's and have not's in higher education."
Holton said that in both middle and lower income families, it's becoming more of a struggle to make higher education work.
"Education is supposed to be a way up for everybody, so we've got to do something," she said. "There are industrialized nations around the world that do so much better off than this, than we do. I am completely confident that if we wise-heads come together we can do better."
Clinton's higher education plan would ultimately make college debt-free, according to her website, by proposing that by 2021, "families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities."
Her plan also includes making community college offer free tuition and that "everyone will do their part," including states which will have to "step up and invest in higher education," along with colleges and universities being held more accountable for the success of their students and "for controlling tuition costs."
Holton said that while she is not familiar with the specifics of Iowa's situation, in which the three regent universities are looking at yet another tuition increase for students, she noted that "everybody is going to [have to be] a little piece of the solution."
"And it will require the federal government stepping up to the plate, states are going to have to step up to the plate, parents and students," she said. "But I think the federal government does have a real opportunity of playing a leadership role."
Holton said she feels that Hillary Clinton is the one person in this race "who can genuinely help build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top," which is a play off Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders main campaign slogan.
The possible second lady of the United States, should Clinton win next Tuesday, was also in Boone to encourage early voting.
"The main issue at this point is reminding everyone how important it is to participate, to vote, to make democracy work and I hope folks will consider voting for who I think is going to make a great president: Hillary Clinton," she said. "I think she's the one person in this race."
Following Kaine earning his spot on Clinton's presidential ticket, Holton resigned from her position as secretary, and has hit the campaign trail. She said that it's been a treat to be able to see all the states and also learn more about what the American people's concerns are.
"It's been a pleasure, seen some beautiful places, some friendly places," she said.
Kaine and former president Bill Clinton will be in Des Moines on Wednesday evening, with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence making a stop south of Des Moines as well.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has a slim lead in Iowa, according to compilation of other polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.