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SALT LAKE CITY — While Mia Love prepared to take center stage at the Republican National Convention in Florida on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson ripped her proposal to eliminate federal student loan programs.
"What she won't say in that speech is anything about her plan to pull the rug out from under more than 75 percent of Utah's college students," he said.
Matheson was referring to a deficit reduction plan Love floated before the state GOP convention in April that included ending student loans, grants and work study opportunities, which according to her would save $33.1 billion.
"This is a dangerous and reckless proposal that would hurt Utahns and damage Utah's economy," he told a small gathering at Salt Lake Community College.
The six-term congressman held two political events Tuesday aimed at pointing out the differences between himself and his 4th Congressional District opponent. In the morning at Memory Grove, he thanked local, state and federal firefighters for their efforts in battling the more than 1,000 wildfires in the state so far this year.
"I think it's a nice contrast actually. I'm here with Utah firefighters and talking to Utah students today. I'm more about Utah. You know me. I'm not too big on either political party. I'm just trying to do the right thing," he said.
Matheson showed U.S. Department of Education statistics showing that 181,005 Utah college students receive some form of financial aid, primarily Pell grants.
"If you wipe that out, most of those folks aren't going to be able to go for post-secondary education," he said. "Is that really what we want for our future, telling kids you don't get to go to college?"