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May 2, 2019

Randolph Herald: Pressley says leaders have `empathy deficit’ on senior issues

Massachusetts Senior Action Council members recently met with U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, who represents Randolph, on issues for seniors.

Pressley pledged her support and advocacy for MSAC members and political campaigns, including the grassroots organization’s fight for affordable health care.

MSAC’s policy priorities include a provision they fought for the Massachusetts House of Representatives budget proposal: a budget proposal that will expand eligibility to the federal Medicare Savings Program to 40,000 low-income seniors.

The member-run seniors’ organization is also supporting state legislation to rein in prescription costs. Pressley said she stands with MSAC and is championing federal legislation to drive down the cost of medicine.

“Seniors can’t afford their medications, we live in a country where people are rationing their insulin,” Pressley said. “Meanwhile we have money for endless wars. It’s convenient to say there’s not enough money and that’s why people struggle. But it’s not a fiscal deficit, it’s an empathy deficit that informs the decision making power right now.”

MSAC’s top legislative priority is to continue to push for legislation that would create a three-year staircase to create wider access to the Medicare Savings program than the measure included in the current House budget. This full expansion would help more than 70,000 seniors better afford their medicines and doctors’ visits.

Pressley said she was inspired by the senior activists’ commitment and successes.

“Whenever I’m with you, it doesn’t feel like a meeting, it feels like a revival, it’s a revival of our consciousness, and our values,” Pressley said. “When I come to your events, I’m nervous. You do your homework. And I will not recuse my ability to lead on state issues as well as federal issues.”

MSAC has a long partnership with Pressley dating back to her days as a Boston City councilwoman. Pressley said she would continue to seek MSAC members’ feedback on key issues.

“Pressley is new, just 100 days, but she is already making waves as we all know,” John Ratliffe, president of the Cambridge Chapter of MSAC, said. “It speaks to the power of our grassroots movement that we continue to deepen our partnerships with national and local leaders to work with us to fight for senior justice.