Illinois Sen. Durbin campaigns in Minnesota

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin visited Duluth , Stillwater and White Bear Lake Friday to talk to voters about Barack ObamaâÄôs plan to restore the economy. The senator met with labor leaders and talked to employees of a TRW Automotive plant whose jobs were outsourced to Mexico. The Minnesota Daily spoke with Sen. Durbin Friday: What do you hope to accomplish in your visit to Minnesota? WeâÄôve tried to make sure that the issue of jobs is front and center this week as people are concerned about the economy. Minnesota is a perfect illustration of the failure of Bush -McCain economic policies. We have, unfortunately, the highest unemployment rate in Minnesota in 22 years. ItâÄôs higher than the national average. So we met with workers. In light of the current economic crisis, what needs to happen to ensure American economic stability in the future? First, weâÄôve got to restore confidence in banks, credit lending institutions and some of the basic corporations in America who are struggling with this restrictive credit market. I think it means that there needs to be more government oversight, transparency, and we just canâÄôt stand by this deregulation approach that John McCain has supported over the yearsâĦSecondly, we need to get to the bottom of this foreclosure crisis. Barack and I both believe that there are too many foreclosures, that some families need to be helped to save their homes âÄî that has to be part of our agenda. How long will it take to make a significant impact towards energy independence? I think weâÄôre moving at it pretty quickly. I see wind turbines, I know we have solar cell research underway and I think in a matter of a few years we can see a dramatic difference. The Americans are showing that theyâÄôve awakened to the uncertainty of high gasoline prices. TheyâÄôre changing their driving habits; theyâÄôre demanding cars that are more fuel efficient; these are all steps in the right direction. How does ObamaâÄôs energy plan compare to McCainâÄôs? You know from their convention, itâÄôs âÄòdrill baby drill.âÄô They honestly believe that we can find the oil we need to sustain America, but the numbers donâÄôt back them up. We have three percent of the worldâÄôs oil supply; we use 25 percent of the worldâÄôs oil production. ThereâÄôs no way we can âÄòdrill baby drillâÄô our way out of this mess. With tuition costs rising, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable? Well, I did something as a matter of fact. We reduced interest rates in college loans but the other thing I did, which is to change the way that we market college textbooks. I think thatâÄôs one of the biggest rip-offs on campus. So, the new law, which the publishers demanded will not go into effect until July of 2010, is going to require publishers to disclose to professors how much the textbook costs, require the professor to post the cost of the new textbook when they advertise their classes. And also to publish the ISBN number, which is like the bar code for textbooks. And then they have to âÄî publishers are required to unbundle their books. TheyâÄôve got to sell the textbook, the supplement and the CD separate. So if youâÄôre not using them all, you donâÄôt have to buy them all. [The price of textbooks] are terrible. IâÄôll tell you what, the students ought to stand up and raise hell. They ought to ask for meetings with faculty senate right now and say âÄòweâÄôre not waiting until July 2010. We want to know if you will put this in effect right now, where you disclose the costs of textbooks and work with us to bring these costs down.âÄô It could really make a difference. Why do you think Barack Obama is the right presidential candidate? IâÄôve watched Bush for eight years and IâÄôve watched McCainâÄôs voting record. John McCain has supported Bush economic policies. ThatâÄôs his mindset. ThatâÄôs the way he sees the world. They had their chance and it failedâĦSo, I think Barack is the real change this country needs. Not just from our economy viewpoint, but also foreign policy. What is the most important issue our country must deal with today and how will Barack Obama address it? ItâÄôs the economy. ItâÄôs still the economy. AmericaâÄôs strength in the world is based on our economic strength and right now we are flat on our back. Another bad day in the stock market is a reminder that weâÄôre not out of the woods. We have got to put the Bush-McCain economic policies behind us.