Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert – September 26, 2014

New York Times Stresses the Importance of Older Voters
According to The New York Times, older voters this year are not favoring Republicans by the overwhelming 21 points that they did in the 2010 midterm elections. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin suggests that even a small shift by older voters will have an outsized impact on election outcomes. Democratic candidates are reaching out to seniors by focusing on Social Security. A recent TV ad in Iowa is an example. The ad says the Koch brothers “spent millions trying to privatize Social Security.” It added, “Now they’re spending millions more trying to elect Joni Ernst.” It features video of Ms. Ernst, the Republican competing for Iowa’s open Senate seat, speaking of privatizing Social Security. A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in late August and early September found registered voters 65 and older evenly divided over whether Democrats should keep a Senate majority, though likely voters preferred Republicans by five points. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, older registered voters favored Republicans to control Congress by five points. Read more at

“Once again, our work and educating and mobilizing our members and seniors on our issues and where candidates stand is even more critical from now until November 4,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Newly-Covered Enrollees Pay for Health Insurance, Despite Rumors to the Contrary
Last week, top Obama administration official Marilyn Tavenner announced that 7.3 million Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollees had paid their premiums, as they must to receive and continue receiving their coverage. This meant 90% of the 8 million people who signed up have paid for their health insurance. On its face, it was a relatively minor news story, a reminder that millions of people did sign up for insurance. However, the announcement refuted tweets and comments a few months back from political opponents expressing skepticism over enrollment. Read more from Talking Points Memo at

“Many of the President’s political foes tried to convince the public that the new health care law was all about free health care for millions who would not pay a cent,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “Last week’s numbers show that was far from the truth.”

Alliance Members Take on Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Rauner
On Monday, The Chicago Tribune published a story about Illinois Republican gubernatorial Candidate Bruce Rauner’s ongoing court cases related to neglect and abuse in his Florida nursing homes ( On Tuesday, Alliance member Dottie Giles joined Paul Vallas, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s (D) Lieutenant Governor-running mate, at a press conference about the matter.

“There are seniors who came to Bruce Rauner’s nursing home and they were met with abuse, neglect…What is unfortunate is Bruce Rauner’s consistent record of putting profit before care for seniors…If he is elected Governor, the seniors of Illinois will be at great risk. That we cannot afford,” Giles stated. Watch a video from the event at and a related statement from another Alliance member, retired steel worker Mike Wolf, at Photos are at

Alliance Signs on to “Inversion” Letter to Stop Corporations from Dodging Taxes
The Alliance for Retired Americans joined Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 425 groups, in signing a letter to end corporate tax inversions. The letter urged Senate leaders to pass legislation that would stop U.S. corporations from shifting their address offshore in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. An increasing number of companies have made such moves, typically to tax havens, costing the U.S. an estimated $20 billion over the next ten years. Read the letter at

“Companies that take advantage of the educated American work force and sophisticated legal system should realize that it is a two-way street. The Alliance for Retired Americans is proud to join other likeminded groups in calling for this change,” Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling said.

Nation’s Eyes Turn to Kansas
Last week, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the name of the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Chad Taylor, must be removed from the ballot, as he requested. Taylor, a county prosecutor from Topeka, threw the race into chaos earlier this month when he announced he wanted to be taken off the ballot. Taylor’s exit seemed to set up a clear two-person race between the three-term incumbent, Republican Pat Roberts, and independent Greg Orman, whom many believe has a chance to unseat Roberts head-to-head. The race could decide control of the entire U.S. Senate, and Orman has not committed to whether he would caucus with the Republicans or Democrats. More from The Kansas City Star at

In the Kansas Governor’s race, big tax cuts that current incumbent Sam Brownback (R) championed have hurt him with many voters and left Kansas with a serious budget problem. The Democrat in the race is Paul Davis, currently the minority leader in the Kansas House of Representatives. Davis is not well-known statewide, but polls show him benefiting from widespread disapproval of Brownback. More from NPR at

Colorado Alliance Establishes the Bob and Joyce Knapp Award
At the Colorado Alliance convention earlier this month, Bob and Joyce Knapp received the group’s first annual Volunteer Award. Beginning next year, the award will be given out annually in their names, as the Bob and Joyce Knapp Award. A resolution passed at the August convention credited the Knapps’ for being instrumental in the establishment of the Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans; for setting an example of commitment for future volunteers to emulate; and for their dedication. The couple originally met while working at Samsonite and forming the United Rubber Workers Local 724. Photos of the Knapps are at

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