That brand new video above is a bit of a biography of the candidate Blue America endorsed for the Maine Senate seat, Shenna Bellows. She's running against Susan Collins, a DC-oriented career-politician who is often mischaracterized by the media as a "moderate." And while she may be moderate compared to crackpots like Ted Cruz of Texas and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama, she's pretty far right for a Maine politician. And she consistently votes with Cruz and Sessions over 90% of the time. As Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Collins is in a unique position to lead in expanding and protecting Social Security for America’s seniors, but in the recent debate about whether to expand or restrict benefits, she's been silent. In contrast, there’s a young woman from Maine who has the courage to lead. In the guest post that follows, you can read what Maine’s next U.S. Senator, Democrat Shenna Bellows, would do to stand with progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren to defend Social Security.
Standing Up for Seniors
by Shenna Bellows
Maine is the oldest state in the Union with the highest median age. That’s why Social Security reform is so important. In traveling to all sixteen counties in Maine, I am hearing a familiar story again and again. Seniors are struggling to get by. They are having to make choices between food and medicine. It's snowing outside today in Maine, and many seniors do not have enough money to heat their homes adequately.
We recorded the stories of Mainers speaking about the need for change in my first campaign video up top.
Too many Mainers feel that Washington is simply not listening. And they are right. The conversation about Social Security benefits in Washington right now has focused for too long on cutting Social Security at great cost to seniors and our communities. But there is a better way.
Progressive Democratic Senators are signing on to the “Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013.” We can and we should expand Social Security, not cut it. Benefits should be linked with a more realistic Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers that takes into account the high costs seniors face with healthcare and housing. We need to ensure meaningful cost of living increases. We can eliminate the cap on Social Security payroll contributions, so that top income earners continue to contribute fairly to the system as their income rises.
With corporations cutting worker pensions, Social Security benefits are more important than ever. We can’t cut our way to prosperity. As Maine’s next U.S. Senator, I will stand up for seniors to strengthen Social Security benefits, not cut them.
The only other Senate challenger Blue America is supporting so far this cycle is Jay Stamper, who is running for the seat Lindsey Graham is sitting in. Like Shenna, he backs expanding Social Security, not bickering with Reopublicans about how much to cut it. Here's what he told us this morning: "I believe we should be expanding Social Security, not cutting it. So, I strongly support the Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act of 2013. It is unacceptable to me that millions of seniors who have worked their entire lives are now facing poverty. As Democrats, we should never yield our role as defenders of Social Security. We should support progressive measures like SEPA, taking every opportunity to contrast ourselves with Republicans like Lindsey Graham who consistently attempt to weaken our social safety net."
You can help replace Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham with Shenna and Jay here on the Blue America Senate page.