I believe that a high quality education is one of the best ways that a person can advance themselves. Especially in a tough economic time like we are facing right now, it is extremely important for job applicants to have learned the skills necessary to provide a valuable addition to a company. Former Senator Claiborne Pell helped to ensure that people are able to afford the education necessary to obtain those skills by sponsoring the program that has helped millions of students attend college. Unfortunately, he passed away yesterday at his home in Rhode Island after a battle with Parkinson's disease.
I'm sure I'm joining all those who benefited from Pell Grants when I say that my thoughts go out to his friends and family. Perhaps the best way to honor Sen. Pell's public service would be to help ensure that every student who qualifies to receive a higher education is able to afford one. With the new Congress and President getting ready to be sworn in and the General Assembly getting ready to begin its session here in Virginia, I recommend people write letters to their elected officials and tell them that this is a perfect opportunity to help make sure everyone has a chance to succeed.