Wednesday, May 2, 2012

PA Alliance for Retired Americans Launches 2012 Political Education Program

The non-partisan effort will educate seniors about important issues, dispel myths and misinformation about retiree programs and inform seniors about how to navigate the new Voter ID laws

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA) announced the beginning of its Political Education Program today.  This program will see PARA volunteers visit Senior Centers, Retirement Communities, Retiree Clubs and other venues to educate their fellow retirees about issues that affect their quality of life.  The program, which has been run by PARA during each national election cycle since 2006, was begun early this year with more volunteers than ever.

In addition to having several volunteers working in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the program also has recruited volunteers living in Reading (Berks County), Erie, Hunlock Creek (Luzerne), Factoryville (Wyoming), Washington Pa, Carnegie (Allegheny), Havertown (Delaware), Plymouth Meeting (Montgomery), Bath (Northampton), Wellsboro (Tioga), Codorus (York), and Hermitage (Mercer).  Each of the volunteers will visit seniors in communities throughout their home county, and in some cases neighboring counties as well.

Volunteers will discuss several issues with retirees.  They will discuss Social Security, dispel myths about its impending “bankruptcy” and talk about competing proposals that would strengthen the program the future. They will also inform listeners about how the Affordable Care Act affects Medicare, as well as how competing proposals such as the Ryan Budget would affect Medicare differently.  Finally, our volunteers will inform seniors about the new Voter ID requirements that may present obstacles for many senior citizens to vote.  Our volunteers will let them know what kinds of IDs are acceptable, and how to obtain them if necessary.

“Through this effort, we hope to create a well-informed retiree electorate this fall,” said PARA President Jean Friday.  “Too many falsehoods will be bouncing around our e-mail boxes and streaming through our cable boxes via misleading ads and untrustworthy media personalities.  Seniors need to know that Social Security is not in a “crisis”, but needs only slight tweaks to make it solvent for the next generation.  They also need to understand how the Affordable Care Act improves Medicare, and how Paul Ryan’s plan would do the opposite. Finally, we must fight efforts to suppress the vote, by helping our seniors who are past driving age to obtain new ID cards for voting. I am proud of the volunteers who joined our cause this year, and I know they will do a fantastic job educating seniors in their communities.”

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Jean Friday of Westmoreland County, has over 300,000 members and 144 local affiliates across the Commonwealth.  PARA’s mission is to educate seniors and the public about retiree issues, and organize seniors to advocate for their interests in Harrisburg and Washington, DC.  To learn more, visit

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