Big Man on Campus

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With the election between himself and Republican incumbent Bob Taft 32 days away, Tim Hagan came to Athens loaded for bear. A published report (in the Cleveland Plain Dealer) said Ohio gets an "F" grade for affordability of a college education.

"We need to invest in primary and secondary education and higher education," Hagan told students at a noontime rally, "Or our economy is going to continue to collapse in this state."

Part of the reason for those tuition hikes has to do with the shifting of dollars from higher education, to satisfy a State Supreme Court mandate for elementary and high school funding.

Hagan proposes a program similar to West Virginia's PROMISE scholarships, aimed at encouraging Buckeye State students to attend college at Ohio institutions.

Athens County, and Ohio University students in particular, have traditionally supported Democratic candidates. But Hagan says he isn't taking any chances.

"Every vote counts," said Hagan. "If you get more votes out of Athens, it helps us with the rest of the state."

Hagan recently said that, if he's elected governor, he would order a tuition freeze at all state-supported institutions.