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Voters Over 50 Send Strong Messages to WI Lawmakers

Health care and affordable prescription drugs are among the top issues for older Wisconsin voters. (Daniel Morrison/Flickr)
Health care and affordable prescription drugs are among the top issues for older Wisconsin voters.
(Daniel Morrison/Flickr)
January 14, 2019

MADISON, Wis. – As Wisconsin's new governor steps into office and the State Legislature begins a new term, policy groups say it's important for lawmakers to remember the voters who elected them.

At 61 percent, Wisconsin had the second highest voter turnout in the nation for the November 2018 midterms, far exceeding turnout in similar elections.

Lisa Lamkins, advocacy director for federal issues with AARP Wisconsin, points out that 58 percent of that record turnout was comprised of voters ages 50-plus.

"We were pleased to see a huge increase in younger voters, because really, the more people in the process, the better,” Lamkins states. “But at the end of the day, it was still the older voters who showed up in greater percentages. And that's why it's important for elected officials to pay attention to the needs and wants of older voters."

The exit poll from the National Election Pool also showed older Wisconsin voters are most concerned about health care, affordable prescription drugs, coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and financial security.

Nearly two of three older Wisconsin voters said in exit polling that the nation's health care system needs major changes.

But Lamkins notes these voters also understand that complex issues require thoughtful, bipartisan solutions.

"We know that it's not an all-or-nothing solution,” she states. “So, it's very important for elected officials at all levels to put aside the partisan bickering and really work on getting a consensus. That's the only way we're going to move forward."

Lamkins adds nearly half of older voters in Wisconsin cite health care as the most important issue facing the country.

That's more than twice as high as other issues, including immigration, gun policy and the economy.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - WI