A seven year old national advocacy group now has a chapter in Iowa. The Alliance for Retired Americans started in Illinois in 2001 and is closely associated with labor groups such as the AFL-CIO. It has three-and-a-half million members nationwide.
The state director of the group in Illinois, Steve Pittman, says it lobbies elected officials on a number of issues. "We work on issues of concern to retirees, their families and their communities, particularly Social Security, Medicare, pension benefits and healthcare," Pittman said. Iowa is the 30th state to begin a chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans. Pittman says the group has experienced some success.
Pittman says the alliance was effective several years ago in protecting Social Security when President Bush moved to privatize it. Individual members of the alliance do most of the lobbying.
"It’s really telling their stories and how the issues affect them is what we use as our main messenger," Pittman said. On its website, the alliance maintains it’s not in competition with A-A-R-P, which also advocates on issues of importance to older Americans. The alliance says it’s interested primarily in issues important to retired Americans.