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Just Sayin': Lighten student loan burden

Donald Trump, who will appear on "Tonight" Sept.

Donald Trump, who will appear on "Tonight" Sept. 11, was a guest on Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night" seven times. Credit: NBC / Lloyd Bishop

Many people ask why Donald Trump is leading in the polls. I'm not writing to endorse him, but rather to say that perhaps people are fed up with the politicians in place.

I say this because our elected politicians really do not seem to care about us. I've been writing for more than five years to politicians in Washington about the high interest rates charged on student loans and Parent Plus loans issued by our own U.S. government.

Student loan debt is exploding. Outstanding student loans total more than $1.3 trillion. While borrowers struggle, the federal government is expected to reap income from these loans. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office concluded that the federal government is projected to bring in $66 billion on student loans issued between 2007 and 2012.

With interest rates near historic lows, homeowners, businesses and even local governments with good credit regularly refinance their debt, but students don't have this option.

Our elected officials could correct this by passing two bills introduced in the House of Representatives. One is the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow college loan holders to refinance at a lower rate. The other bill is the Student Loan Interest Deduction Act, which would double the tax deduction for interest paid on student loan debt and eliminate upper-income limits on these deductions.

We have politicians who refuse to help students, senior citizens and hardworking people. This is why we have someone like Trump leading in the polls. People believe that he will help.

Robert Damato, Floral Park

Renew conservation fund

Protecting New York's incredible outdoor spaces didn't just happen. It took years of hard work and significant funding to ensure that places like Jones Beach State Park and Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale are safeguarded for generations. This is thanks to an incredibly successful, yet relatively unknown conservation program that is to expire on Sept. 30.

Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect everything from nationally significant landscapes and historic sites to community parks and ballfields in our own neighborhoods. America's best parks program has connected generations with the outdoors and helped to preserve New York's natural and cultural history.

Despite the popularity of the program, some fringe Republicans in Congress are standing in the way of bipartisan efforts to renew this critical parks program before it expires. Thankfully, New Yorkers have leaders from both sides of the aisle fighting to renew this fund and help provide kids with opportunities for outdoor activity. We need the rest of Congress to join this effort.

Marcia Bystryn, Manhattan

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York League of Conservation Voters.