Oct 192008
Authors: Madeline Novey

Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Colo., and Obama campaign representatives said Friday that America has inherited global issues only to be combated by “honest” candidates, increased federal funding to state governments and more communication between politicians and their constituents.

The Obama campaign invited Sen. Bacon, a proclaimed supporter of presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, to speak to about a dozen people at the first open forum on Social Security and Medicare at the Fort Collins Senior Center Friday afternoon.

Both Sen. Bacon and Fink said Americans are going to face the “challenge” of the current political state of the country in the next several decades and have to work against a slew of problems, which include “a mess of deficits,” the war in Iraq, corporate bail-outs and the healthcare crisis.

“It’s going to take people, not just at the presidential level, but people from the ground up to be honest,” said Lee Fink, the seniors constituency vote director for the Obama campaign. “Everyone, the public has to hold political figures’ feet to the fire.”

Officials from the Obama campaign said they are “not taking any vote for granted” and are focused on communicating campaign policies on a wide variety of issues, with as many voters as possible across the country from now until the election. The campaign invited elected officials, community leaders and local supporters to speak at each forum.

Forum attendants directed questions to Bacon and Fink about the war in Iraq, the current and future state of healthcare and Medicaid, the economic crisis and quizzed both men on possible solutions.

When one attendant said that senior citizens “just don’t have enough” when it comes to healthcare, Bacon said he feels the federal government needs to take on an increased financial responsibility to alleviate the burden currently on state governments.

“State governments pay a huge part of the money going into healthcare and Medicaid,” Bacon said. “We need to plan to get seniors involved and bring people into service to reduce costs.”

Bacon said that the cost to individuals can be reduced when the revenue streams coming into the states are increased, and in order to make a “move ahead” and provide for a greater number of people.

The “challenge” that Americans face in the coming years, Bacon said, is the decision to allocate money – either to increase funding to higher education, or fund policies, that benefit senior citizens.

“The question is, do we cut $3 million from higher education or fund the Older Americans Act, which provides amenities like Meals on Wheels to seniors?” Sen. Bacon said.

Senior Reporter Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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