Himes to bring community college official to tonight’s State of the Union

A community college president from southwestern Connecticut will be Congressman Jim Himes’ guest tonight at the State of the Union address.

Himes, whose district includes most of Shelton, has invited David L. Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College, to the U.S. Capitol for President Barack Obama’s address.

Himes and Levinson recently voiced their support for Obama's new proposal to make the first two years of community college free for qualifying students.

“America’s economic success and the strength of our middle class depend on a well-educated and well-trained workforce,” said Himes, a fourth-term Democrat.

“If we want our nation to remain competitive, we must make college — including community colleges and vocational schools — more affordable," he said.

Himes said Connecticut residents face some of the highest student debt loads in America, and the president’s idea would “help prepare American students for the 21st century workforce and [to] compete in the global economy.”

‘A game-changer’

Levinson called Obama’s proposal “a game-changer. Free tuition for community college grads will yield a bountiful return on the investment and be good for the economy, the workforce and the nation.

“Community college graduates are poised to fill immediate workforce needs and they become taxpayers,” Levinson said.