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CT "Has Its Say" on Hot-Button Election Issues

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PHOTO: Earned a Say logo
PHOTO: Earned a Say logo
August 15, 2012

STRATFORD, Conn. - Now that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has named Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate, some say it puts even greater focus on the debate over the future of Medicare and Social Security.

Connecticut voters today get a chance to share their ideas and concerns about these programs, at a "You've Earned a Say" community forum in Stratford.

Jennifer Millea, AARP state communications director, says Connecticut residents have paid into these systems for a lifetime, and they now deserve to have a voice in any changes to the programs.

"There's no doubt that Social Security and Medicare are going to be top issues, and it's important that people know where the candidates stand on these issues and how the changes could potentially impact them and their families."

Ryan's budget plan would shift Medicare to a voucher system for future beneficiaries.

More than 600,000 Connecticut residents depend on Social Security, Milles says, and for 17 percent of those age 65 and older, their Social Security check amounts to nearly all of their monthly income.

"These programs are critical not only to the future of current retirees and today's seniors, but for future generations also - because as we all know, most companies are no longer offering guaranteed pensions."

Those who can't make it to the forum can still learn more and add their views about these issues, Millea says, by visiting the "Earned a Say" website, earnedasay.org.

"Folks can try their hand at filling some of the funding gap for these programs. There's fact sheets, and there's also an opportunity for folks to send a message to their member of Congress and the presidential candidates."

Voters attending today's forum - set to begin at 1 p.m. at Baldwin Center in Stratford - can get the facts on more than a dozen proposed reforms for Medicare and Social Security, Millea says, adding that both pros and cons will be offered without political spin.

Another forum will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Enfield Senior Center. A full schedule of events is online at aarp.org/ct. To RSVP for events, call 877-926-8300.

At least eight more forums are planned around the state through the fall, Millea says.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT