NEW BRITAIN - Senior citizens raised concerns over Social Security, Medicare and health care Thursday at the New Britain Senior Center.
The discussion took place during a meet-and-greet for candidates in the 5th Congressional District.
All five candidates, Democrats and Republicans, came to the conclusion that they need to work to protect Social Security benefits.
Candidates also agreed that the Social Security cap needs to be increased so that those who earn more can contribute more to support the system.
Rich DuPont, one of the Republican candidates, said that he supports the system because he has already had to claim benefits. He said that at 23, he lost both of his parents and as the oldest of five children, he had to raise his family.
Seniors also asked the candidates to share their feelings about the general treatment of the elderly. DuPont said that seniors are an important group in our society.
“What you pass along, the knowledge that you have and share it with our younger generation, the values that you have, cannot be under estimated,” DuPont said.
Seniors also wanted to know the candidates’ opinions of what’s going on in Washington.
Jahana Hayes, a Democrat, said that the country has had enough.
“I think that what’s happening in Washington right now is pretty self-evident,” Hayes said. “We see increased division. I sit back and watch the dismantling of the three branches of government little by little. My response to that is, I refuse to live in fear, I refuse to be a part of a system where we just wait and then react to whatever is happening.
“This is why I’m running, because that fourth branch of government, which is the people, needs to reactivate itself where regular people come out and say I’ve had enough. I know the possibility of who we can be. I’m an educator, had no desired to do this, but I cannot sit by and watch and do nothing.
“I think it’s time for people with common sense to step up and say I’ve had enough, and say I will not be dragged in the mud or be involved in this kind of divisive conversations. I’m going to work for the people in the community, the people where I live, the people that have the same concerns as me to make my family better, your family better.”
In addition, seniors asked candidates about senior housing and the revision of Section 8 for those who need it. Candidates said they support having safe, secured and affordable homes for seniors.
The candidates also were asked if they supported Medicare coverage of dental care for seniors. Ruby Corby O’Neill, one of the Republican candidates, said that she understands how expensive it can be to pay for dental care out of pocket.
“That is something that needs to be addressed at the federal level to be included with Medicare so that it’s covered,” O’Neill said.
The discussion included lunch, and it was one of the last chances for candidates to be exposed to the community as the state’s primary election is on Tuesday.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.