"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, former President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, former President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, former Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
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August 2010 was filled with successful celebrations and rallies around Social Security. All-told, state Alliances hosted over 80 events with well-over 5,000 people to formally celebrate. Over 50 Members of Congress or their staff joined in the festivities.
Social Security was a dominant news story in August. Alliance events generated an abundance of earned media including television, local radio and newspaper coverage.
Alliance events ranged from cutting cake with Congresswoman DeLauro in Connecticut and Congressman Steve Kagen in Wisconsin to a multi-city truth tour in Illinois. Over 400 people attended the Social Security celebration in Harlem, New York, while 200 packed a senior center in Tucson, Arizona; 250 in Delray Beach, Florida; 300 in Seattle, Washington. Over 500 Wisconsin State Fair-goers signed a petition encouraging elected officials to preserve and strengthen Social Security.
Alliance members and leaders nationwide will continue to educate and mobilize communities and the public around the ongoing threats to Social Security and encourage the preservation of this wonderful program - not for themselves, but for future generations.
- CBS Channel 5 San Francisco: Labor advocates rally to support Social Security / KCBS 106.9FM 740AM San Fran, Oakland, San Jose [radio/text] (TV/Radio - Northern CA)
- New Haven Register: 75 years of Social Security celebrated (Print - New Haven, CT)
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser: At 75, Social Security is still thriving (Print - Honolulu, HI)
- Cedar Rapids Gazette - Report: Social Security Puts $7.2 Billion into Iowa Economy Cedar Rapids (Print - Cedar Rapids, IA)
- Iowa Independent - Group urges Loebsack to fight to preserve Social Security (News site - Cedar Rapids, IA)
- Evanston Roundtable - Social Security Turns 75: No Intention Of Blowing Out the Candles Just Yet (Print - Evanston, IL)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Social Security not to blame for deficit, retirees told (Print - St. Louis, MO)
- Fosters Daily Democrat - 75th birthday of Social Security celebrated in Dover (Print - Dover, NH)
- The Epoch Times - Harlem Celebrates 75 Years of Social Security (Print - New York City, NY)
- Syracuse Post-Standard - 'Social Security is not in crisis' (Print - Syracuse, NY)
- CBS Channel 27 Youngstown, Warren - Social Security Program Turns 75 (TV - OH)
- Daily Business Journal - Social Security at 75: Cake and Debate (Print - OH)
- Canton Repository - Retirees gather to celebrate 75 years of Social Security (Print - Canton, OH)
- Toledo Blade - A federal plan that works (Print - Toledo, OH)
- NBC Channel 12 Erie - Seniors Seek Political Guidance (TV - Erie, PA)
- NBC Channel 13 Eau Claire - Seniors celebrate the 75th anniversary of social security (TV - Eau Claire, WI)
State by state
200 people gathered in Tucson for a birthday party & luncheon with Congressman Raul Grijalva. Grijalva promised to vote no on any report from the fiscal commission which calls for cuts to Social Security or Medicare. He has also co-authored a letter to the Fiscal Commission co-chairs expressing “strong opposition to any potential proposal” from the commission undermining or reducing Social Security benefits, privatizing the program or raising the retirement age.
Video: Celebration – Singing "Happy Birthday" in Spanish & English with Rep. Grijalva
The California Alliance sponsored Social Security celebrations and rallies in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
In Fresno, for example, celebrations included a delivery of 2000 postcards calling for the protection of Social Security to Senator Dianne Feinstein. Lunch was provided by firefighters with birthday cake for desert. Attendees included Congressman Jim Costa (CD 20), Eligio Nave, Pres. Hispanic Chamber & current chair of PAC, and staff from Sen. Dean Flores’ office. In spite of the heat, the crowd was enthusiastic and lively and sang Social Security Song to the tune of God Bless America.
In Los Angeles, 100 members of the community turned out. The audience was enthusiastic and emphasized the importance of Social Security for everyone—not only seniors.
(Pictured at right: Social Security 75th birthday party with Congressman Xavier Becerra)
Press & Mentions:
- Sacramento senior center honors Social Security - Modesto Bee (Sacramento, 8/13/2010)
- Seniors Rally on 75th Anniv. Of Social Security - CBS Channel 5 (San Francisco 8/14/2010)
- Labor advocates rally to support Social Security - ABC Channel 7 (San Francisco 8/14/2010)
- Bittersweet Birthday for Social Security - KCBS 106.9FM (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, 8/14/2010)
- Barnidge: 75 years later, social security keeps rolling along - Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, 8/15/2010)
- San Francisco Rally To Save Social Security ("Crisis My Ass") - Indybay.org (San Francisco, 8/17/2010)
- Will It Be Catfood or Cake? How Will Seniors Survive if Social Security is Cut? - Indybay.org (San Francisco, 8/19/2010)
Celebrations in Connecticut included Hartford, New Haven, New London and West Hartford.
Three hundred people attending the AFL-CIO Convention passed a resolution to strengthen Social Security and prevent cuts to the program.
One hundred twenty people attended a birthday party and forum with Congressman John Larson. A Social Security Works for Connecticut study was presented to Congressman Larson at this event.
Press & mentions:
75 years of Social Security celebrated - New Haven Register (New Haven, 8/12/2010)
Should She Worry About Social Security - New Haven Independent (New Haven 8/12/2010)
At Social Security birthday party, Rosa DeLauro cuts the cake - People's World (8/16/2010)
The Florida Alliance hosted Social Security events in Cocoa Beach, Delray Beach, Fort Meyers and Pompano.
The celebration in Delray Beach hosted 250 local citizens for a seniors forum with Congressman Tom Deutch.
Congressmen Ron Klein and Ted Deutch spoke to a crowd of 100 to a meeting and celebration of Social Security in Pompano.
- Daniel Webster, GOP House Candidate, Proposes Budget That Would Cut Social Security Benefits - Huffington Post (8/16/2010)
- Social Security turns 75, Tampa recipients celebrate - Creative Loafing Tampa blog (8/17/2010)
- Fla. Seniors rally on Social Security anniversary - Miami Herald (8/17/2010)
Florida senior Jo Price on Social Security:
Nearly 200 local residents turned out in Doraville for a celebration of Social Security’s 75th birthday. 13th District Rep. David Scott & UAW Regional representative Tom Savage spoke to the crowd.
The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans hosted several Social Security celebrations in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Waterloo.
Rep. Loebsack attended celebrations in Cedar Rapids and shared his personal Social Security story.
- Report: Social Security Puts $7.2 Billion into Iowa Economy KCRG Channel 9 ABC (Cedar Rapids 8/4/2010)
- Group urges Loebsack to fight to preserve Social Security - The Iowa Independent (8/5/2010)
The Illinois Alliance launched a “Truth Tour” in honor of Social Security’s 75th birthday. Illinois Alliance President, Barbara Franklin, and other leaders within IARA traveled to Alton, Bloomington-Normal and Aurora to speak about Social Security and issued a call-to-action for attendees to sign letters to their elected Representatives to protect Social Security.
Following the Truth Tour, the Illinois Alliance organized a protest against Rep. Paul Ryan, in Chicago for an endorsement event. Video:
- Seniors celebrate the 75th anniversary of social security - Evanston Now (8/14/2010)
- Truth Tour stops in Bloomington - The Pantagraph (Bloomington, 8/16/2010)
- Group touts 'truth' about health care reform - Alton Telegraph
- Seniors alliance addresses health care bill: Medicare 'Doughnut Hole' among issues discussed -The Beacon News (Aurora, 8/20/2010)
- Social Security Turns 75: No Intention Of Blowing Out the Candles Just Yet - Evanston Roundtable (8/31/2010)
- Protesters To Rep. Ryan: Keep Your Hands Off Our Social Security - Progress Illinois blog (9/1/2010)
The Indiana Alliance held Social Security events in Indianapolis, Kokomo and Evansville.
The Maryland/DC Alliance held Social Security events in Greenbelt, Baltimore and Suitland.
AFSCME retirees and Baltimore area seniors celebrated Social Security’s 75th birthday and discussed present threats to the future of the program.
Maryland’s Secretary on Aging, Gloria Gary Lawlah, and Sue Ward from the National Commission to Preserve Social Security and Medicare joined Alliance leaders and area seniors for a celebration in Suitland, Maryland.
Congressman Russ Carnahan and staff from Sen. McCaskill's office joined Alliance leaders and seniors in St. Louis for a forum and birthday celebration.
- Social Security not to blame for deficit, retirees told - Saint Louis Post-Dispatch (8/17/2010)
Cary, Lewisburg, Raleigh and Smithfield seniors and Social Security supporters held birthday parties and roundtables in honor of the 75th anniversary.
In Cary, NC, Senator Kay Hagan joined seniors and Alliance members for an in-depth discussion on Social Security.
In Lewisburg, U.S. Congressman Etheridge and State Rep. John May, as well as the local Mayor& Sheriff turned out for a 75th birthday bash.
40 seniors joined Congressman Bob Etheridge and State Rep. Leo Daughtry for a Social Security Senior Roundtable & Anniversary party in Smithfield.
Two Social Security birthday parties were held in Omaha in honor of Social Security’s 75th birthday this year. Rep. Lee Terry, Terry's challenger State Senator Tom White, and 2 other state Senators turned out to a celebration with NEA retirees and others.
- The Congressman and His Pledge(s) - Nebraska Watchdog (8/19/2010)
Hundreds of seniors in New Hampshire took part in Social Security celebrations in Dover, North Conway and Merrimack. U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter was on hand at all three meetings.
Shea-Porter re-enforced previous statements opposing Social Security cuts, privatization, and raising the retirement age. The New Hampshire Alliance's Terry Lochhead said, "Attendees stated they were glad to get the facts."
Margaret Mace wrote to the Concord Monitor: "Raising the retirement age for Social Security is a bad idea. My first husband died at 51. He didn't get anything back. Raising it to age 70 would deny even more people. Instead, we should raise the payroll tax cap on Social Security for the wealthiest Americans."
- 75th birthday of Social Security celebrated in Dover - Fosters Daily Democrat (8/17/2010)
The New Mexico Alliance held 2 celebrations in Albuquerque and 2 celebrations in Las Cruces.
- Happy Birthday, Social Security - Las Cruces Sun-News (8/11/2010)
Over 400 union and community members attended the bi-lingual (Spanish/English) event in Harlem. Many younger participants from surrounding public housing developments and the Taino Towers attended the inter-generational celebration.
Special speakers included Congressman Charles Rangel, State Senator Ruben Diaz, State Assembly’s Cathleen McCadden, Keith Wright, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. Also represented: NYS Office for the Aging, the Social Security Administration (DC), Social Security Works, the national Alliance for Retired Americans, and AARP. FDR’s grandson David Roosevelt joined the festivities as well.
Special performances by: Tato Laviera, popular Hispanic poet (author of 5 books, more than 15 plays performed in NYC, performed in White House for President Jimmy Carter in 1981). Social security beneficiaries and local residents including Marjorie Eliot (jazz pianist) and Ismael Granda, a "one man latino band," also performed.
Harlem Celebrates 75 Years of Social Security - The Epoch Times (8/19/2010)
- Gerald R. Lotierzo of the Central New York Alliance for Retired Americans, says Social Security is not in crisis - Syracuse Post Standard (8/20/2010)
The Nevada Alliance celebrated Social Security's birthday in Gardnerville and Las Vegas.
The Ohio Alliance held celebratory events in Canton, Cleveland, Warren-Youngstown and 2 events in
both Columbus and Toledo.
One hundred locals enjoyed a birthday party in Canton. They were joind by Congressman John Boccieri as well as the Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, who both pledged to keep Social Security secure and not to send it to Wall Street via privatization. Boccieri and Fisher also expressed concern over recent Alan Simpson remarks.
The celebration in Cleveland with Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was coordinated with allies Progress Ohio, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and Senior Voice.
Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy attended 2 well-attended events in Columbus. Kilroy answered questions about the absence of Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) this year, explaining the House passed a COLA but it was filibustered in the Senate. Kilroy suggested that Congress could potentially pass an alternative COLA that measurers the cost-of-living for seniors. Congressman Sander M. Levin joined Rep. Kilroy in Cleveland for one of the events.
Congresswoman Kaptur was on hand and supportive of two major celebrations in Toledo. She proudly displayed the “Social Security: Preserve, Protect, Pass it on” sign during television interviews at the event.
Warren-Youngstown rang in Social Security’s 75th with over 75 locals in addition to Congressman Tim Ryan, the Mayor of Warren – Michael O’Brien and several other leaders from the labor and aging communities.
- A federal plan that works - The Toledo Blade (8/6/2010)
- Social Security Program Turns 75 - WKBN Channel 27 CBS (8/19/2010)
- Social Security at 75: Cake and Debate - Business Journal Daily (8/20/2010)
- Retirees gather to celebrate 75 years of Social Security - Canton Repository (8/27/2010)
The Pennsylvania Alliance hosted events in Aliquippa, Bethlehem, Erie and Sharon.
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, present at the Sharon celebration, proved again to be a strong supporter of strengthening Social Security.
PARA members and local citizens in Aliquippa presented Congressman Jason Altmire with a petition and numerous postcards from his constituents in support of strengthening Social Security, not cutting it. Altmire said that he is against raising the retirement age, against cutting benefits for current Social Security recipients and against proposals that would “hurt the program.” He could not, however, commit support to raising the cap on taxable wages and said he might vote for Deficit Commission recommendations that contained one or two provisions he does not favor.
- Social Security milestone: While not in campaign's forefront, program has Toomey and Sestak at odds - The Daily Call (8/19/2010)
- Seniors Seek Political Guidance - WICU Channel 12 News (Erie, 9/8/2010)
Over 100 people turned out in Rock Hill for a Social Security Birthday celebration. Congressman John Spratt was one of the attendees.
The Texas Alliance held events in Austin, Dallas and Grand Prairie. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson was represented in Grand Prairie and Dallas.
Blogging from Tyler, Texas - the ARA’s Shane Fox:
The Vermont Alliance celebrated Social Security in Burlington by preparing cupcakes for the local Social Security office and staff.
Burlington Free Press reported:
“Workers in the [Social Security] office filed in for cupcakes and exchanged greetings with the visitors. The Alliance wanted to thank the 24 workers in the Burlington Social Security office for the work they do, said board member Janet Patterson -- and to remind the general public that the system, as has been true since its inception, is under attack.”
Read more here: Social Security turns 75 Saturday - Burlington Free Press (8/13/2010)
Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Jim McDermott joined over 300 Alliance and community members in Seattle for a festive Social Security birthday celebration at Greenwood Senior Center.
Great video coverage:
The Wisconsin Alliance held Social Security celebrations in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison and Milwaukee.
Over 500 Wisconsin State Fair-goers signed a petition encouraging elected officials to preserve and strengthen Social Security in Milwaukee. Congressman Steve Kagen attended the Green Bay celebration.
Press and mentions:
- Social Security A Vital Program - Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, 8/12/2010)
- Seniors celebrate the 75th anniversary of social security - WEAU Channel 13 NBC (8/12/2010)
- Social Security: What's needed for the next 75 years? - Kenosha News (8/14/2010)
- Wisconsin Celebrates Social Security - Wisconsin AFL-CIO (8/16/2010)
- System Solvent - Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, 8/22/2010)
The West Virginia Alliance held an event in Charleston.