Youth group lobbyist says student debt is chief concern for millennials

An advocate for young voters told Hill.TV on Thursday that student debt is among the chief concerns for the group going into 2020. 

"We take our cue on our issues from our members, and from the action that's happening," Ben Brown, founder and CEO of the Association of Young Americans, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"From our members, we're hearing that the student debt crisis, $1.5 trillion for 40 million Americans is causing them to buy homes later, not be able to afford rent," he continued. "So that issue specifically [is] where we're spending a lot of our time, and we're taking our cues on issues from members."

"It's systemic. There are really two core issues here. One is the existing $1.5 trillion in student debt that is folks who have already left school or who have dropped out of school," Brown said. "The other issue is the actual cost of higher education, which has exploded in the last 10, 15 years because of all sorts of reasons."

"Trying to figure out how to manage those costs, and make sure that people can afford education, job training and career training, so that they're prepared to be a contributing and working member of our society," he said. 

The Association for Young Americans advocates for Americans between the ages of 18 and 35. 

The issue of student debt will be a key one for contenders in the 2020 Democratic primary. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I-Vt.) has pushed the idea of tuition-free college since his first presidential bid in 2016, while fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Mass.) co-sponsored legislation last year that would use funds from the federal government to help states allow students attend college debt-free. 

— Julia Manchester