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An Antidote to Attack Ads: AARP Voters' Guide

PHOTO: It's less than a month until Election Day. AARP has compiled candidates' views, in their own words, about several key issues in its nonpartisan Voters' Guide. Photo credit: Nicole Klauss
PHOTO: It's less than a month until Election Day. AARP has compiled candidates' views, in their own words, about several key issues in its nonpartisan Voters' Guide. Photo credit: Nicole Klauss
October 10, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. - With the General Election less than a month away, there's at least one source of political information in the Commonwealth that isn't an attack ad. This week, AARP Pennsylvania released a nonpartisan Voters' Guide anyone can access online.

The group contacted the candidates in the governor's race and more than 40 state legislative races. The same questions were given to each, making it easier for voters to compare answers. Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania state director, outlines the hot topics.

"We talked about family caregiving issues; we talked about protecting retirement security," says Johnston-Walsh. "We talked about ensuring access to affordable utilities, and then also expanding the home and community-based services for older adults."

The Voters' Guide is online at aarp.org/yourvote. For the congressional races, Johnston-Walsh says the AARP national office rounded up the information about how each candidate views Social Security, Medicare, and family financial security.

In a survey of voters over 50 done for AARP Pennsylvania this summer, more than half said they have or will delay retirement for financial reasons.

AARP has 1.8 million members in Pennsylvania. Johnston-Walsh says the Voters' Guide includes AARP's position on each issue, alongside the candidate's views.

"We take stands on issues that are important to our members," Johnston-Walsh says. "We do not endorse any candidates, we don't have a PAC, so we don't give any dollars to any candidates, and we don't endorse candidates."

Johnston-Walsh points out in Pennsylvania, as in many other states, older voters are a big factor in the turnout, but the Voters' Guide is for folks of all ages.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - PA