RICHMOND, Va. -- At least a dozen local organizations and entrepreneurs attended a roundtable Monday to share their concerns and ideas on how to better serve their communities with U.S. Senator Mark Warner.
The senator started the conversation by sharing three main topics he wanted to address with those at the table. This included access to capital, housing and student debt.
Specifically, he spoke about how he feels improving these things for everyone, especially people disproportionately impacted like those in the black and brown communities, is vital in improving Virginians' lives and financial state.
"The statistics may look OK, but if you're facing a lot of student debt or can't afford to buy a house or get capital, then we're not taking advantage of the whole opportunity that everybody in Virginia should have," said Warner.
He spoke about pushing a program for young Virginians that would allow those that qualify for a 30-year mortgage to make those payments, but actually gain the equity of a 20-year mortgage.
Though many of his suggestions were well received, some in attendance pressed for specifics about how wealth will be built for people in these communities, starting from the birth of a child. They asked for more hands-on help with day-to-day tasks, whether for housing or day care for low-income mothers.
In regard to the issue of student debt, Warner highlighted a law he wrote that would allow employers to contribute just over $5,000, tax-free to their employees.
Shanice Bradshaw with the Metropolitain Business League sat on the panel to share her concerns about student loan debt.
"The amount of minimum payment is kind of at a point where I don't think I'm going to be able to pay this," said Bradshaw. "So I think hopefully with him talking about the plans he has, there will be something in there that give a relief of some sort."
Bradshaw said that while she is grateful for events like these, she hopes to see movement soon since student loan payments resume in October.
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