By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN - Political science pursuer and 2006 Dassel-Cokato graduate Kayla Kotila now has bragging rights after meeting US Vice President Joe Biden at a St. Cloud town hall meeting recently.
Kotila, the daughter of Mike and Brenda Kotila of Dassel, is currently a student at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, majoring in political science with the goal of working on political campaigns.
College Democrats were invited by Minnesota DFL leaders to help with a town hall-style meeting, with the vice president, himself, in attendance.
The event was part of the White House Task Force on Working Families at New Flyer of America Bus Company in St. Cloud.
According to the company’s web site, New Flyer is “a North American leader in the development of enviromentally-friendly and fuel-efficient transit vehicles.”
The White House Task Force on Working Families was created by President Barrack Obama and led by Biden for the purpose of improving education and training for the working, middle class along with protection of incomes and retirement security.
“A strong middle class equals a strong America. We can’t have one without the other. This task force will be an important vehicle to assess new and existing policies across the board and determine if they are helping or hurting the middle class. It is our charge to get the middle class the backbone of this country up and running again,” said Biden, on the task force web site.
For the event, Kotila was taking tickets from attendees for the meeting.
According to Kotila, only 100 tickets were given out for the event.
“I thought it was a great experience, especially being [among] White House officials and to see the planning that went into it,” Kotila said.
She also learned more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She was specifically interested in how the stimulus package could help her as a student.
Kotila explained there was a substantial amount in the stimulus package going to government loans for education so that despite the economy, young people can continue with their education plans.
The ARRA is said to “increase college affordability for seven million students by funding the shortfall in Pell Grants, increasing the maximum award level by $500, and providing a new higher education tax cut to nearly four million students,” according to a web site dedicated to help explain the act, www.recovery.gov.
For Kotila, it was nice for her to hear the individual sides and the different thoughts on the stimulus package.
It was a very positive event and atmosphere, with the majority of those in attendance being supporters of Biden and the current administration, Kotila said.
As far as meeting Biden, Kayla says, he was “very friendly and smiley.”
He even gave her some advice for her future in political science.
“He told me to stay away from men until I’m 30 . . . so I can pursue my political ambition without distractions,” Kotila said.
“It was a really great experience. I was very happy afterward,” Kotila said.
This summer, Kotila is planning an internship in Washington DC, possibly in the House of Representatives.
For more information about the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, visit www.whitehouse.gov/strongmiddleclass.