The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 21, 2014

Rahall hears from local seniors

At the Raleigh Commission on Aging

BECKLEY — Rep. Nick Rahall made a special visit Thursday to the Raleigh County Commission on Aging to discuss the needs and concerns of seniors in the area.

Raleigh County Commission on Aging Executive Director Jack Tanner said that this wasn’t Rahall’s first visit to the center.

“Congressman Rahall typically comes here once in a while to meet with the seniors. He wants to come talk to the seniors about their concerns about our national government and what their interests are. I think he’s more interested in questions and comes to find out from our seniors again, what their needs are, what their concerns are and try to answer any questions. As far as I know, he doesn’t have a set agenda.

“We invite all of our elected officials to come here and meet with our seniors and to talk with us. I encourage that at all levels.”

Rahall, the Democrat from Beckley, said he’s working hard to meet the needs of seniors.

“I’m here once again to pay my respect for our seniors, to recognize the work that Jack Tanner and the Raleigh County Commission on Aging does for our seniors and most importantly to recognize what our seniors have done for this great country of ours. I will stress to them as I do every day, including in Congress, that I do not feel that their Social Security benefits should be reduced in any manner whatsoever.

“That would include their cost of living adjustments (COLA). I have been working to change the formula by which the cost of living index is calculated so that their 1.5 percent COLA increases can be larger than that. That’s barely sufficient, actually not sufficient enough to meet today’s rising cost of living.

“With gas going up, utility bills going up, water costs going up, food costs going up ... the seniors have a hard time today making ends meet and if we can more accurately reflect all of those daily cost of living increases in how COLAs are adjusted, then I think it will be fair for our seniors.”

Rahall also said that he has been misunderstood when it comes to his stance on Medicare reforms.

“I’m not for any cuts in Medicare and those reforms that were made in the past that some of my critics are interpreting as cuts in Medicare, the savings created thereby actually went back into the Medicare Solvency Trust Fund to ensure its solvency longer than expected.”

Some in attendance challenged Rahall’s commitment to his constituents and asked that he better represent them on Capitol Hill.

When asked how lawmakers could help keep the United States from getting more involved in the Ukrainian situation, Rahall responded with his thoughts against further U.S. military involvement.

“Fortunately we have ended our involvement in Iraq, a war I opposed from the get-go, and we are winding down our  commitment to Afghanistan, where I think a lot of us are losing our patience.

“There is no stomach in this country for boots on the ground anywhere else in the world. Not in Syria, not in the Ukraine, not anywhere is there any desire to see additional American boots on the ground.

“The Ukraine situation is very difficult. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is, in my opinion, trying to be as ornery as he can. We have to recognize that there are tools other than the military.”

This was Rahall’s first stop in a full schedule of visits in southern West Virginia on Thursday, culminating at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston where he was set to join Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for the Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award presentation to Hinton native Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

For more information on Rahall or how to

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