Scores of students braved a blizzard Thursday to hear President Obama’s speech on American energy at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Many in the packed auditorium were students of the college who had been able to get one of the 400 tickets given out for the event.
After initial audience shouts of “We love you!”, to which President Obama replied “I love you back”, he began his speech by praising the college’s automotive shop, which he received a tour of earlier in the day.
Said the president, “One reason this country has an auto industry today is because we’re building cars that go further on a gallon of gas. And in part, that’s because of what’s happening in places like this community college. It’s because of so many of you.”
The bulk of the president’s 20-minute speech focused on his plans for American energy during the rest of his presidency, and briefly touched on his long-term plans if re-elected.
He emphasized an “all-of-the-above strategy” as a remedy to US energy woes, saying that “anyone that tells you we can just drill our way out of this is either not telling the truth or doesn’t know the problem.”
He also expressed his commitment to developing clean and renewable energy sources to maintain security and independence.
The president repeatedly addressed the importance of education in building a stable energy future. “We’ve got to keep relying on American know-how and ingenuity that comes from places like this one,” he said.
He concluded his speech in the same manner, calling on the next generation to develop these solutions: “So when I see all the young people who are here today — we need you guys to keep at it. This is your future at stake. We need you to summon the same spirit of unbridled optimism, that bold willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their time”.
Donnalee Lozeau, mayor of Nashua, which is NH’s second largest city, echoed the importance of supporting college students. “We have to make sure that what we are doing for our kids in college is helping them have a debt that’s more manageable, be able to find a job, have a good quality of life, and pay off loans. We should all be doing that, not just the president.”
Nashua Community College student Theophile Lecomte had a positive review of the speech and its political implications. He praised how it addressed students directly, and for him, reaffirmed that “President Obama will be our best bet for 2012.”
Fellow student Andrew Genova enjoyed the president’s speech but had environmental concerns, asking “if he’s trying to use reusable sources, why are we tearing down acre after acre?”
For student Brittany Decker, other issues need more emphasis in the public forum.
Decker said that while the current administration has done a great job of lowering the country’s dependence on oil, she would like more of a focus on lowering tuitions. “School names carry so much weight, and they need to find a way that we don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt,” she stated, adding that she’d like to see what the other candidates could do regarding the issue.
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