The midterm elections are less than three weeks away, and despite some recent polls showing Republicans with a small advantage heading into the Nov. 8 election, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley says she’s confident the Democratic Party can maintain control of the House of Representatives.
Polls show that the economy and the roughly 8.2% inflation rate are some of the most concerning issues for Americans heading into this year’s elections. Pressley said the Democrats can do a better job of touting the importance of economic support packages and the recent launch of President Joe Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan.
“We need to make sure that people are having the means to meet their most basic needs, but also in order to do better,” she said on Boston Public Radio. “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me in community because of this student debt relief. People are saying now I’ll be the first person in my family to buy a home.”
Under the student loan forgiveness program, a single person making less than $125,000 in annual income can have $10,000 forgiven. Recipients of Pell Grants, which are given to people with exceptional financial need, can have up to $20,000 forgiven.
According to White House estimates, more than 800,000 people in Massachusetts are eligible for some form of federal loan forgiveness. Pressley said that the program will also help address racial wealth inequalities.
“One in four Black borrowers will have their debt zeroed out completely, half of Hispanic and Latinx will have their debt zeroed out,” she said. “It’s not true ‘If you build it, they will come’ — not if you don’t know about it.”
Pressley said the Democrats have “a good story to tell” about Democrats’ efforts, and she will play a direct hand in spreading that message when she joins Sen. Elizabeth Warren next week on a public awareness tour across Massachusetts. The two members of Congress plan to visit Boston, Brockton, Worcester and Springfield.
“So we’re gonna go on this road tour,” she said. “It’s not quite ‘Thelma and Louise.’ I’m trying to think of some comparable iconic figures’ road trip.”
Pressley added that the party can’t solely focus on federal officeholders, and needs to ensure that there are enough governors across the country who will support national efforts.
She commended the Biden administration’s decision to pardon roughly 6,500 people who were previously convicted for federal marijuana possession. But, she said that local officeholders need to follow suit and use the tools at their disposal to promote the party’s overall message.
“If that does not happen in the waning days of the Baker administration, I hope to see more of that from Gov. Baker within the context of … cannabis convictions and the like. But if that does not happen in the remaining days of a Baker administration. I look forward to having a Healey-Driscoll administration which has already indicated that they will make this a priority,” Rep. Pressley said.