What Older Voters are Doing in Upcoming Elections

Less than a week away from the midterm elections, older voters came out to learn more about the issues that matter to them.

The event, sponsored by Politico and AARP, was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City, Philadelphia. The discussion was part of the POLITICO-AARP The Deciders series, which focuses on and reports on the impact the 50+ voting bloc may have on this year’s election.

In attendance was Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Boyle (D) and Congressman Ryan Costello (R). The discussion was moderated by POLITICO Playbook Co-Authors Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman.

Some of those in attendance for Monday’s event wanted to hear where both congressmen stand on some of the issues most impacting them.

“My concern is definitely about social security, about Medicare,” said Valda Branison from West Philadelphia. “It’s about the 50 plus community. Just looking at what’s going to happen to our future.”

Aside from healthcare, Branison said she was most concerned with the overall future of the community, which she says could be influenced by her fellow 50+ voters.

“We are the most dependable and largest voting bloc, the 50 plus voting bloc,” said Angela Foreshaw Rouse, Community Outreach Manager for AARP Pennsylvania. “And 50 plus populations go to the polls.”

Like Branison, most 50+ voters were most concerned with health care. Boyle and Costello both felt the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act should have been handled differently.

Costello said a lot of GOP voters were frustrated by the inability to repeal and replace Obamacare and that the electorate just wanted issues to be fixed. Boyle said President Trump just made Obamacare more popular.

For Boyle, as well as other 50+ voters, student loan debt is also getting their attention.

“It certainly hurts those of us of a younger age and those of us who are going to college today,” said Boyle. “But it’s something that impacts all of society.”

Boyle also described the student loan debt issue as a “ticking time bomb” in Washington that many people there commonly avoid.

“What are the benefits of young people continuing to spend all that money in order to try to get a good education,” said Branison.

Unlike Boyle, Costello has not chosen to run for reelection this year for a number of reasons. He says he began to disagree with some of the actions of the GOP, such as removing the US from the Paris Climate accord, as well as saying he became frustrated by frustrated by the unending focus on all things Trump in the party.

Aside from The Deciders initiative, AARP has been speaking with its members and their families about their questions and concerns in this election cycle.

“When you go to the polls on November the 6th,” said Foreshaw Rouse, “you really got to look at which candidate resonates strongly with you, your family values, and your core for what you’d like for your community.”

To read more from the Deciders series, use the link here.



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