Asia Perry

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — U.S. Sen. (D-Calif.) and presidential candidate Kamala Harris hosted a town hall April 19 at Winthrop University, where she discussed climate change, prison reform, teacher pay, student loan debt and healthcare.

Harris, one of at least 20 Democrats seeking the party’s nomination, told the crowd her goal as president would be to restore truth and justice and return to a place where we recognize ourselves as a country who can do better.

She said truth is important, because many people in the country don’t trust the government and its systems. While speaking truth can be uncomfortable, she said, it is the key to gaining public trust.

“We must acknowledge the things that are born out of hate, wherever and whenever we see it and speak out against it, and we must agree that whenever anyone is the subject of that hate they must never be left to fight alone,” said Harris.

Harris said she believes student loan debt should not take a lifetime to pay off and the repayment of student loans should be based on income.

She said reducing student loan payments would allow some college graduates to be able to afford to become teachers.

“In our country today, teachers are paid on average 10 percent less than similarly college educated professions,” said Harris.

Discussing prison reform, Harris said it is unacceptable to keep inmates alone in a cell for years, because it disrupts their mental and physical health.

“I really liked what (Harris) said about climate change because that’s probably what I’m most passionate about, so I liked that she really touched on that because most candidates don’t,” said Makayla Mangle, a Winthrop Student who covered the event for the Johnsonian.

Student Tracy Sanders said this was her first time attending a political rally.

“(Harris) made some really good points that me and other people have felt; and the fact that she’s very confident, that she is going to make a change for this country is what I like,” said Sanders.