Older residents living in the Manassas area heard U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s stance on Social Security and many other issues pertinent to seniors during a town hall meeting Wednesday at a local assisted living facility.
Kaine, a Democrat, told the audience at Birmingham Green, located just outside of Manassas Park, that he doesn’t support privatizing Social Security, which he says requires the working to set money aside in an account for themselves instead of using it to support older ones.
He doesn’t want to change the way Social Security operates, Kaine said.
“We should support a dignified retirement for the generation who raised us,” Kaine said Wednesday.
He agrees there is always a need for finding reform, but Social Security isn’t contributing to the national debt, he added.
The former Virginia governor also spoke on the subject of Medicare shared his ideas for decreasing its costs.
The Medicare system has its challenges, but its costs are going up for a good reason—because people are living longer, Kaine said.
There are smart ways to save money in Medicare, but pushing the costs onto the “shoulders” of senior citizens isn’t one of them, the candidate said.
He opposes turning Medicare into a voucher program, which he says makes senior citizens, the sick and the vulnerable pay for everything over the voucher amount, Kaine said.
“That’s not a cost-saving, but a cost-shifting plan,” he said.
Kaine said he thinks money can be saved through Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies to senior citizens.
The federal government should negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get cheaper rates for prescription drugs, he said. he way the system currently operates, the rates aren’t negotiable, he added.
If elected to the U.S. Senate, over his opponent, former Kaine said he wants to be on the committee that votes on health care issues.
Donald Reed, a resident at Birmingham Green, said he listened intently to what Kaine had to say Wednesday. He’d become familiar with the candidate after watching his TV commercials, Reed said.
“I agree with just about 99 percent of what he says,” Reed said. “There’s always that 1 percent that you don’t agree with. I wanted a chance to meet him, you get a much better understanding of where they stand.”
Kaine said the welcome he received at Birmingham Green was one of the warmest ever.
Baxter Cooper, a coordinator at the facility, said the news of Kaine’s visit, “blew his mind” and “was like Christmas.”
After the speech, many surrounded the candidate, posing with him for pictures and clamoring for handshakes and words of gratitude.
Linda Dade,62, was on the first row of the audience and got the chance to shake Kaine’s hand without getting caught in the crowd.
She said she wanted to hear him speak to gain a better understanding of why she should vote for him.
Sitting beside her was 82-year-old Liberia native Winnie Walker, who carried a shopping bag with U.S. President Barack Obama’s face printed on it.
“I like, I like,” Kaine said of Walker’s bag as he greeted her and Dade.
Kaine came to Birmingham Green after speaking at a Jewish community center in Fairfax earlier in the day.