SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. – Is running for President like baking a cake? Not really.
“I was really hoping in your intro you would use all the awful, tawdry baking puns. Like ‘who is going to rise to the occasion,” Sean Panzer said in his kitchen in Sherman Oaks, as he baked his family’s favorite chocolate cake. “I’ve made this hundreds of times.”
Panzer isn’t a professional baker, but he did go to culinary school. He has the student loans to prove it.
“It’s just been kind of a ball chained to my ankle, financially, for a while,” Panzer said.
His degree cost him more than $60,000. Right now, he manages a coffee shop in Santa Monica. So at this rate, he figures it will take him about 12 years to pay it off.
“It’s a little bit tricky to plan your future when you’re still paying off your past,” Panzer said.
Student loan debt is one of the issues that attracted him to Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has a loan forgiveness program as part of her platform.
After the last presidential debate, Panzer went to see some of the candidates in person, nabbing tickets to see both Warren and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. He got a picture with Gabbard, but said the line to greet Sen. Warren was simply too long.
“There were lights and cameras,” Panzer said of Warren’s event at University of Southern California. He said Gabbard’s was tiny in comparison. “Tulsi was literally telling people to film on their phones and share it.”
Because he has refinanced his debt, he doesn’t think Warren’s forgiveness plan would eliminate any of his loans. However, he supports the idea anyway, saying it would help many of his employees.
“It’s a generational thing,” Panzer said. “It isn’t just me.”