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South Dakota AARP Rolling Out a “Divided We Fail” Blitz

May 8, 2008

Sioux Falls, SD - South Dakota residents are converging on Sioux Falls this week for the first in a series of three statewide events promoting long-term financial security and quality affordable health care. The events are part of a South Dakota AARP "Divided We Fail" blitz aiming to put bi-partisan politics aside and engage the public, candidates and elected officials in a discussion about providing financial and health security for everyone.

A.A.R.P. state director Sarah Jennings says a "Community Conversation" will be held Friday at the organization's state office to gather public input about the health care challenges South Dakota residents are facing.

"You know, I believe almost all of us know someone who has had an issue with health care where they've either had a hard time paying the bills, forcing them to skip taking a portion of their prescription drugs, or perhaps they had an unexpected hospital stay, which really threw their whole family into a financial crunch. Those are the types of issues that we really are focused on with 'Divided We Fail.' We are inviting people to come and talk to us about these issues and we really want to hear what people think we might do to start formulating solutions to these problems."

The free seminars planned for Saturday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center will focus on financial security.

"In South Dakota more than half our retirees depend on Social Security to put them above the poverty line. That doesn't mean going on trips or enjoying the cushy retirement that we would all love to have; it's really just being able to pay the bills, keep the lights on, afford groceries, and make sure they get the prescription drugs they need. Literally, it's just staying right over the poverty line."

Jennings believes the nation is at a point where all generations need elected officials to find solutions to these problems.

"Divided We Fail" is the largest campaign AARP has mounted in its 50-year history.

For more information on the nationwide "Divided We Fail" effort, visit the AARP web site at
www.aarp.org.

David Law/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - SD