Editor's note: Sandi Halimuddin is our editorial intern this quarter. She is a senior at the University of Washington.

Editor’s note: Sandi Halimuddin is our editorial intern this quarter. She is a senior at the University of Washington.

As a soon-to-be university graduate, I am concerned about the prospect of graduating with mounting student debt. Today, the state pays for 30 percent of public university tuition. The average debt for public and private four-year institution graduates in Washington state is $22,244, according to The Project on Student Debt by The Institute for College Access and Success.

The state’s higher-education model must be reformed to encourage aspiring college students and alleviate the post-graduation student debt that burdens new graduates. Our generation needs a leader to prioritize education by stopping cuts made in the name of balancing the budget and during the upcoming Nov. 6 elections, we will finally have a chance.

It’s hard to ignore the whirlwind of the upcoming elections, as candidates President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appear on glossy, televised debates and tweet their way to Election Day. But the person who has more influence on our everyday lives is the Washington state governor.