Newsmakers, October 27, 2016

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers
Teri Lehrke, Jan Gallagher and Jim Flaherty
Teri Lehrke, Jan Gallagher and Jim Flaherty Hope Kirwan/WPR

Voting and Aging-

Jan Gallagher of La Crosse turned 70 this year. She considers herself at the start of the Babyboomer generation, expected to contribute to the rapidly growing population of older adults in the next 20 years…the kids who were born post-World War II in the United States.

“We have been putting pressure on the systems as we’ve come along, and now I think it’s the services to seniors that we’re seeing the pressure,” Gallagher said.

Federal entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare that provide financial and medical security to those over 65.

Gallagher who is a member of the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area also said political candidates aren’t talking about the issues that are most important to older voters during the 2016 election, a sentiment seniors across Wisconsin share according to AARP-Wisconsin Communications Director Jim Flaherty. He said the top issue for seniors is the future of Social Security, not just for them, but for their kids and grandchildren.

“This (Social Security) is a program that’s going to run out of 25 percent of it’s money by 2034 and people are going to be facing drastic cuts.” Flaherty said. “It’s not a joking matter, people live on Social Security to get by and we need our presidential candidates to come to the table with their plans of how to make that program solvent going forward.”

Flaherty said unfortunately there’s not a lot of debate going on about a lot of things that affect a rapidly growing aging population, issues like the need for housing, transportation and health care.

“The boomers are moving into that age group in huge numbers. We have to have affordable living options for folks. We’ve got to have access to health care. I think the candidates can’t just ignore that,” Flaherty said.

He said voters need to ask the candidates about issues that matter to them in person and not leave a debate response or political advertising to be the only answer on an issue.

Gallagher and Flaherty were guests on Wisconsin Public Radio-La Crosse’s Newsmakers, which talked about how seniors fit into the election process. The show also covered issues like voting access for seniors and the important role they play in administering elections.

One show a month in 2016 has been devoted to issues facing an aging population.

– John Davis

Episode Credits

  • Hope Kirwan Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Teri Lehrke Guest
  • Jan Gallagher Guest
  • Jim Flaherty Guest