As a former mayor of Chattanooga and a political Independent (with a capital “I”), I had the privilege of working closely with a cross-section of very committed and determined representatives of both major political parties during my time. Notably, the process of working together in the same office toward common goals resulted in fast friendships that continue today. Although there were differences, most led to nothing more than good natured ribbing. All agreed on one point: the importance of voting in every election.
2020 is an unusual year and these are challenging times. Under the circumstances, it might be tempting to be overly swayed by the polls, by the fears of the pandemic or simply be overwhelmed by all the noise of the national election. Accordingly, let’s refocus on the importance of this election and all elections – it’s our chance to directly participate in our democracy. But this year, we must know where all the candidates stand on issues that impact people 50+ and take precautions to vote safely.
It’s not a question of political party, it’s a matter of patriotism for all. If congressional, local and presidential candidates want older voters to support them, they must talk about the issues that matter most to you and me, such as laying out their solutions for protecting Medicare and Social Security, lowering prescription drug prices, ensuring safe and affordable long-term care and providing for more livable communities for citizens of all ages and abilities. Any politician who fails to address the health and financial security of 50+ voters, especially during this pandemic, is out of touch.
Groups like AARP Tennessee have been working to make sure we know our voting options. I am a volunteer with this organization. If you are over age 60 or have underlying health issues, you can usually vote by mail. By the time you read this, the deadline for requesting a mail in ballot might have passed, but if you are comfortable voting in person, early voting is Oct. 14-29, and of course, you can always vote on Election Day. If you have questions on voting from home, voting early, or voting safely on Election Day, you can find more information at the AARP website.
Stay safe and healthy, and don’t delay in preparing to cast your ballots from home or in-person.