GLOVERSVILLE – Two Democratic candidates and a former member of the music group Sha Na Na came to the city Wednesday, stressing the need to support retirees and Social Security.
Aaron Woolf, a candidate for the 21st Congressional District seat, and 49th state Senate District candidate Madelyn Thorne, both Democrats, and Sha Na Na’s Jon “Bowzer” Bauman spent Wednesday speaking with locals, advocating for more support and protection of Social Security and other government programs.
Bauman, who endorsed Woolf, spoke to retirees and residents of the David & Helen Getman Memorial Home, announcing his organization, Senior Votes Count, has come out in support of Woolf for the 21st Congressional District. The district includes Fulton and Hamilton counties.
“We want these programs [Medicare and Social Security] to be called earned benefits. Because that is what they are,” Bauman said.
Woolf will face Republican Elise Stefanik for the 21st Congressional District seat. The current occupant, U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat, announced he would not run for the position again.
Woolf, Bauman said, has shown support to both programs, while critiquing Stefanik, claiming she has supported turning Medicare into a voucher program, as well with privatizing Social Security.
“The issue with privatizing social security, once again, is what would have happened in 2007 or 2008 if you hadn’t retired at that time? Your investments would have tanked,” Bauman said.
Charlotte Guyett, a spokeswoman for Stefanik, said today that Stefanik was not for privatizing Social Security, but for protecting the program going forward and discussing ways to keep both Social Security and Medicare solvent. Guyett also said Woolf’s “do-nothing” approach to Social Security would not help the program.
Woolf talked to seniors about preserving Medicare and Social Security, and fighting plans to privatize the programs.
“One of the most forward thinking pieces of legislation [was Social Security], and now people want to attack Social Security and one of those people is the person I am running against in this race,” Woolf said. “What we need to do is strengthen, not weaken, Social Security. You know how we strengthen Social Security? We strengthen our economy.”
Woolf also spoke about increasing the minimum wage.
“We attack those differences in real wages and we make sure people get paid what they deserve. Folks, it is time to raise the minimum wage in this county. We have people working 50 or 60 hours a week, two or three jobs at a time and not bringing home enough money to take care of their families or loved ones or grandparents,” Woolf said.
Thorne – who will face Patti Southworth in a Democratic primary next month, with the winner expected to run against Hugh T. Farley, R-Schenectady, in the general election in November – spoke to the crowd about her experience working in a retirement home.
“I know the issues that you have, I know and share your concerns. I want you to have lives of dignity, I want you to be cared for, I want you to have your choices and I want you to have a safe home. And as your senator, I am going to support the policies that are going to allow our elderly to live those good lives,” Thorne said.
Officials and Democratic party supporters turned out later Wednesday night at the Eccentric Club for a fundraiser for Woolf and Thorne, with the proceeds benefiting the campaigns.