Warner meets with students

Published 2:28 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner joined Longwood students in a town hall meeting at Longwood University as part of his five-day travel through Virginia to share his ideas surrounding the state’s economy.

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The town hall was held in the Prince Edward Room of Blackwell Hall on Feb. 18.

“I love coming back to Longwood,” Warner said. “What I particularly liked was every year when I would come as governor, when Girls State was here, and for 20 minutes, I felt like a rock star.” He said the resiliency of the university and the historic community were especially noteworthy.

“It’s great to be back in Farmville and especially great to be back at Longwood,” he said.

Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV

said Warner has been “instrumentally important” to the university.

Throughout the discussion with students, Warner focused on student debt and cyber security. Afterwards, the floor was opened to student comments.

According to Warner, there is currently more student debt than credit card debt. He suggested that in order to help combat student debt, students should be able to access Pell Grant money in high school, companies could use pre-tax dollars to let employees pay down debt and refinance student loans.

“There are challenges, but our country has also faced challenges,” Warner said.

He said it was important to not lose faith in the political process. “The people who will participate may not have the same interests as you,” he said.

Warner expressed his concerns for cyber security and unmanned systems. He said there are currently 17,000 jobs open in the cyber security industry and one million drones were sold at Christmas.

Warner spoke of the existing threats and new threats involving cybersecurity.

“There’s gonna be constant pressure on the military to do more with less money,” he said.

He said that in the long term, a diversification of the economy is needed. “We’re in a period of a lot on economic uncertainty right now,” he said.

Warner said students need to think about career areas beyond the traditionally sought out industries.

According to a press release, Warner’s stop at Longwood was one of nine during five days of travel around the commonwealth.

The purpose of the trip was to be able to conversate with a variety of individuals, including college students, community business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.