Affordable education and bringing jobs back to the United States dominated senatorial candidate David Alameel’s talk with students on Oct. 3.
The talk, hosted by UTD Democrats, gave students the opportunity to ask questions about Alameel’s platform as he runs for a seat on the U.S. Senate against current senator John Cornyn.
An immigrant from Israel, Alameel considers himself the epitome of the American Dream. He said he wants to run for office to help others also have their chance at that dream.
Before deciding to run for senator, he worked as a dentist — an achievement that he credits to the opportunities he had as an immigrant and through his service in the Army.
He said that part of his reason for deciding to run for office was his desire to provide the same opportunities to Texas youth.
“You know the saying, ‘It’s all good men to come to the aid of their country,’” he said. “Now is such the time.”
He and his family began working in gas stations and working in the field. He credited the army, however, for changing his life — making it so he could afford an education. He said now, however, opportunities for people to rise out of their socioeconomic class are limited.
“The American Dream is out of reach for most American families,” he said.
Alameel highlighted the high cost of higher education and the insurmountable rise in student loans as some of his key issues.
“It’s the biggest scam in history,” he said. “There’s now $3.3 trillion in student loan debt.”
He said education is how the best and brightest can rise to the top and how we can begin to rebuild the economy.
If corporations on Wall Street can borrow money on a 0.25 percent interest rate, students should not have to pay 5 to 7 percent interest on their loans, Alameel said.
“We should either demand that they make it the same interest rate as they give these corporations, or they should forgive it because I don’t think our children should come out with loans,” he said. “We owe them free education.”
Alameel said loans are the reason Americans never truly own anything.
“By the time you finishing paying off your house in 30 years, you’ve paid three times as much as it’s worth, and by the time you own it outright, it’s ready to be demolished,” he said. “You buy a car, and by the time you pay it off, (you’re) ready for a new car.”
He said the United States needs to transition to a uniform education system rather than leaving it up to the states. He said he also wants every public school to have the same amount of money to spend per student regardless of where the child lives.
“(Education) is a civil right,” Alameel said. “Every country in the world thinks it’s a civil right.”
He blamed Wall Street for the United States’ rising debt and economic troubles.
Alameel said 35 years ago, the United States could compete with any country when it came to manufacturing and production, but now the United States has outsourced almost all of its manufacturing oversees.
“We need to bring those jobs home by removing the incentive,” he said. “We are paying (corporations) to take them overseas.”
He said the corruption in government doesn’t involve just Republicans but Democrats as well.
Along with taking jobs overseas, Alameel spoke out against the United States’ constant involvement in war. He said the more money that is spent on wars, the less money is available to invest in the country.
Alameel said he believes in choice for families in regard to abortion and marriage equality. He explained that while social justice is important, he also wants his children to have a good, solid education.
“Opportunity without education and good jobs and a career does not amount to anything,” Alameel said.
Political science senior Marisa Durham, president of UTD Democrats, said the purpose of bringing Alameel to campus was to start alerting students about the upcoming elections.
She said UTD has a unique problem in that it sits between Collin County and Dallas County, so trying to get a physical voting booth on campus is difficult.
Durham said that UTD Democrats hopes to have more events on campus to encourage people to vote, including a gubernatorial information session and a possible Election Day watch party on Nov. 4.