AARP to kick off legislative session with 'Breakfast of Champions for Change'

By The West Virginia Record | Jan 3, 2008

CHARLESTON -- Gov. Joe Manchin and legislative leaders will pledge to work together across party lines to improve health care and financial security at AARP's "Breakfast of Champions for Change."

The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Jan. 10 at the Charleston Marriott Town Center. The public is invited to the free event, but registration is required. To register, call 1-877-926-8300.

Divided We Fail (www.dividedwefail.org) is a national effort designed to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to the most compelling domestic issues facing the nation -– health care and the long-term financial security of Americans.

Four of the nation's leading consumer, business and labor organizations have pledged to work together to urge action from political leaders in a partnership called Divided We Fail. AARP, Business Roundtable, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Service Employees' International Union (SEIU) will use the influence of their memberships to amplify the message that attaining health and long-term financial security is vital for all Americans.

"We are putting political leaders on notice that the organizations who form Divided We Fail are demanding action on critical issues," AARP West Virginia State Director Frank Bellinetti said. "We all agree that the health and long-term financial security crisis in America needs to be addressed by our political leaders."

AARP is asking the West Virginia legislature to begin the 2008 legislative session by signing the "Divided We Fail" pledge, promising to put politics aside and work together to come up with solutions to problems hindering access to health care and long-term financial security.

Congressmen Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan have both signed the pledge. U.S. Senators Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller have provided letters of support for Divided We Fail, along with Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.

The pledge that state lawmakers will be asked to sign focuses on bi-partisanship and effective solutions. It acknowledges, "Americans want answers, action and accountability from their elected officials -- not legislative stalemate."

By submitting this pledge to legislators, the organizations of Divided We Fail-AARP, Business Roundtable, NFIB and SEIU-are asking members to support the group's platform goals including affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans, and equitable solutions to ensuring life time financial security.
The text of the pledge says:

"I am committed to working with my fellow elected officials, regardless of party, to develop and implement policies that provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable health care and lifetime financial security. I understand that Americans want answers, action and accountability from their elected officials – not political gridlock. The time has come to address these critical national priorities.

I pledge to work across party lines to support legislation that seeks to:

* Provide every American with access to quality, affordable health care, including:

** information about the quality, cost, and effectiveness of health care services

** policies that prevent illness and promote good health

** policies that reduce health care costs while maintaining quality of care

** the development of secure health information technology and electronic health records

** choices when it comes to long-term care service delivery and affordable financing options;

* Strengthen Social Security in a manner that treats all generations fairly;

* Provide Americans with greater access to retirement plans, financial incentives to save, and tools to better manage their finances and help prepare them for retirement; and

* Develop policies that help ensure that all workers-regardless of age-can continue to work and contribute to society."

Voters can sign a voter pledge or tell their story about personal challenges with health care or financial security at www.dividedwefail.org.

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