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Minnesotans Urged Go “Below the Political Surface”

January 28, 2008

St. Paul, MN – As almost half the states in the union prepare to go to the polls next week for the round of primary elections known as "Super Tuesday," a nonpartisan group is urging voters to "dig beneath the surface" when evaluating the national candidates.

The group has been tracking candidates' positions on major issues, with the goal of encouraging Minnesotans to become informed and turn out to vote, as their state joins 23 others in selecting nominees for the presidency.

Amy McDonough, spokeswoman for AARP Minnesota, one of the organizations involved in the effort, says people need to find out exactly where candidates stand, especially on the two issues voters say are the most important: healthcare and financial security.

"There are too many American families that are living just one healthcare crisis away from bankruptcy. And, this is people's biggest worry: how are they going to continue to pay for healthcare costs that rise at such an abominable pace?"

She says AARP has launched a national campaign called "Divided We Fail," to pin down candidates' positions on specific issues and make the answers public, online and by mail. It's an effort McDonough says has received wide, bipartisan support, from the business community, labor, nonprofit organizations and senior groups, because they all want to keep people healthy and the economy strong. She adds the healthcare issue is key in this election year.

"This is an issue that has now affected all American families. It doesn't just affect low-income people. These are working people who struggle to pay for healthcare. These are people who are nearing their retirement, and are afraid they're not going to have enough money to live on for the rest of their life. These are true stories, and we need to have the candidates understand that they must address these issues right away."

She says the "Divided We Fail" goal is to encourage voting and make sure candidates' positions are on the record and easily accessible. The informational campaign also has support from more than 200 members of Congress, including the Minnesota delegation, as well as most of the presidential candidates. She hopes they follow their support - with action.

"We believe that, although candidates are talking about health and financial security, we can't emphasize to them enough that they need to take action on these issues. They need to hear personally from people, and this is your chance to have your voice heard on these issues."

The candidate and issue guide is available online, at: www.dividedwefail.org

Jim Wishner/John Robinson, Public News Service - MN